I believe I wrote how the BP oil disaster would doom the climate bill yesterday, but the rest of the world is catching up today (arm breaks while patting self on back).
The Wall Street Journal explains today how an environmental disaster based on drilling for dirty energy means a less likely road for an environment and clean energy bill:
But lawmakers said the catastrophic spill could further dim the White House’s hopes for securing legislation aimed at reducing U.S. consumption of oil and other fossil fuels, by making it impossible to forge a compromise that includes expanded undersea drilling [...]
Coastal senators, such as Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Bill Nelson of Florida, vowed to block expanded drilling in any bill. Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.) said legislation can’t move forward without three “pillars”: expanded oil and gas exploration, more nuclear power and a price on carbon-emissions in exchange for the first two.
“At least temporarily, this has knocked one of the legs of the stool off to the side, so my guess is that nothing proceeds at the moment,” Mr. Kyl said.
Mr. Nelson agreed, saying, “It makes it more difficult to get 60 votes,” the number to break a Senate filibuster. “You’re not going to get offshore drilling in an energy bill.”
Behold our logic-resistant, industry-captured Congress. Basically, Republicans – and Democrats like Mary Landrieu don’t want an energy bill without offshore drilling. After this disaster, you won’t be able to pass anything with expanded drilling without losing several votes from coastal Democratic Senators. Therefore, you can’t get to 60, and no deal.
And the reason here is simple – you can measure it in the $758,000 Landrieu has received from the oil industry over her career, leading her to shill for that industry and minimize the consequences of this disaster. A substantial segment of the Congress won’t react to the climate crisis unless industry gets large handouts and subsidies. Chris Bowers is right – “If people like Mary Landrieu were Senators from Chernobyl, back in 1986, in the days immediately after the disaster, they would probably have been arguing that the meltdown shows the need for lower regulations on nuclear power plants.”
This is not a universal view among politicians in the affected area, it must be told. Alabama Governor Bob Riley is reconsidering his support for offshore drilling. But it should be noted that he’s not running for re-election this year.
Among those who have to stay in office, they are still too tied to the pollution industry to break away and come up with a method to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
In a related story, Joe Lieberman may “launch” the climate bill without the support of Lindsey Graham, who is both holding out for the offshore drilling piece and is throwing a hissy fit because Democrats dared to talk about his immigration bill. That launch may go as well as the Hindenburg.
UPDATE: Lieberman, channeling Elvis Costello, says the offshore drilling piece will remain in the climate bill because “accidents happen“.