TOP ENERGY PLAYER
Lisa Murkowski, the ranking minority member of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, boasts numerous pictures on her website of herself standing in the snowy and remote Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The place, says the Alaskan senator, is key to solving the country's energy problems.
Murkowski is a reliable supporter of the oil, gas, and nuclear industries on a range of energy issues. That includes drilling in ANWR and opening the outer continental shelf to oil exploration. Much of her state's economy is based on the oil and natural gas reserves, and those industries contribute heavily to her election coffers.
In the past, she's opposed factoring global warming into federal project planning and regulating carbon dioxide emissions without coordination with India and China. But she does say that climate change exists and that carbon emissions should be cut.
A moderate Republican, Murkowski stood up to conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh after he mocked one of her constituents who testified about the effects of global warming. Recently, she's raised alerts over disputed areas of the Arctic, which not only hold potential oil and gas reserves but also may prove to be key shipping routes as the ice flows in the Arctic decrease. The United States, Russia, and Canada are all staking claims there, and the issue is likely to be contentious, with the ice melting at the top of the world.