Republican senator lays out path for U.S. independence from OPEC

Mon Feb 4, 2013 4:06pm EST
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* Energy plan would open parts of Atlantic coast to drilling

* Murkowski says plan is meant to kick off a dialogue

* Plan supports renewable energy research funding

* Conservation group says plan not serious on climate change

By Ayesha Rascoe

WASHINGTON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - U.S. independence from OPEC could be a reality if the U.S. government opens more lands for oil and gas development, speeds permitting and approves the Keystone XL pipeline, the top Republican on the Senate energy committee said in a policy report on Monday.

Senator Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, laid out a wide-ranging plan to take advantage of the United States' energy bounty.

"We no longer should view energy policy from a perspective of scarcity, but rather, from a perspective of increasing abundance," the 120-page report from Murkowski's office said. "With the right policies, abundant and affordable energy is achievable."

Murkowski's vision called for the government to embrace the nation's shale oil and gas boom and various other fuels, rein in regulations, and eschew new mandates on the use of renewable resources.   Continued...