Could The Oil Spill Make An Energy Bill Less Likely?

by Bradford Plumer | May 4, 2010

It's certainly possible. Back when Lindsey Graham was still negotiating over a climate and energy bill in the Senate, recall, there was a lot of talk about how expanded offshore drilling was going to be the thing that attracted Republican votes (as well as conservative Democrats like Louisiana's Mary Landrieu). True, new drilling might upset the liberal Dems, the thinking went, but surely they'd yield if that was the price that needed to be paid for a cap on carbon emissions and clean-energy investments.

Well, maybe not. The Gulf disaster has (understandably) made a number of Senate Democrats—including New Jersey's Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, as well as Florida's Bill Nelson—more opposed to drilling than ever. As Kate Sheppard reports, Nelson and others are now promising to filibuster any energy bill that opens up the coasts for new oil and gas drilling.

Update: Joe Lieberman, one of the authors of the Senate climate bill (which still has yet to emerge), is still saying that offshore drilling ought to be be part of any grand energy compromise. Key quote: "I mean, accidents happen." He did suggest, though, that they'd stick in an additional safeguard as a compromise: The bill would allow any state to veto new offshore drilling 75 miles off its shore. Not sure that will satisfy drilling opponents at this point, though.

(Click below to read more of Brad’s coverage of the spill: “The Case for Optimism,” “Who Should Pay for the Cleanup?,” “The Ineffectiveness of a Drilling Moratorium, and The Spill's Limited Legislative Impact.)

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