HOUSTON — Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) delivered a message of unity on climate change here yesterday.
But their remarks at CERAWeek by IHS Markit meant sometimes contradicting party colleagues and leaders back in Washington, D.C.
Addressing an audience of several thousand people at one of the biggest oil and gas conferences in the country, the political moderates said they could find common ground.
"There's no such thing as a new green deal," Manchin said during a panel discussion with Murkowski. "There's a resolution that has a dream, but there's no bill, there's no contents at all."
Many of Manchin's colleagues are backing the Green New Deal, either because they support the resolution's tenets or they see it as a positive aspirational message to combat climate change.
But the West Virginian said he wants the U.S. to continue using fossil fuels — while developing technology to offset greenhouse gases and other pollution. And he said the Green New Deal framework that's being discussed is a non-starter.
Murkowski similarly appeared to disagree with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's (R-Ky.) strategy of calling a show vote on the Green New Deal.
"This is not the time to put everyone off in [their] corners and then let's come out fighting with more rhetoric," she said.
Murkowski, whose constituents pay some of the highest energy costs in the country, said any reform bill should ensure rural residents are protected from price spikes.