“Because of the bipartisan support for this program, we feel confident that our conversations with the Hill will be more fruitful,” Zichal told reporters in a conference call on Thursday. “We feel really good about the partners we have,” Zichal said. The week before Obama’s State of the Union address, Murkowski unveiled an energy blueprint that also included a plan similar to SAFE’s energy trust fund –- although key to the Republican plan was a reliance on revenue from new oil drilling, as the original SAFE plan had called for.
And Murkowski’s trust fund would fund all forms of energy research, not just advanced auto technology.
“The president hit on a good idea when he called for a trust fund to promote energy innovation,” said Robert Dillon, a spokesman for Murkowski. “But unlike Sen. Murkowski’s proposal, he would not enable new energy production to pay for it. The president says he wants to divert a share of the royalties from offshore production that has already been factored into the budget, which could mean either deficit spending or less funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The only other source would be new taxes. There’s a better way that not only funds investment in research, but also addresses our need for affordable and abundant energy. It’s Sen. Murkowski’s plan. We hope the president will embrace it.”
SAFE CEO Diamond – who will be present at the president’s speech today, thinks those differences are surmountable.
“The Republicans want to do this by expanding energy production –- and Democrats should be in favor of it because you can have more money for research. There’s clearly room for negotiation,” he said.