Major Climate Bill Still a Major Possibility this Summer
Photo via Dip Dive
In making one of the centrist compromises designed to lure Republicans towards compromising on energy policy, Obama may have inadvertently nearly killed the climate bill that's been languishing in the Senate for months. The offer to open offshore drilling was intended to meet GOPers halfway in crafting a more comprehensive energy policy that included pricing carbon and more nuclear power -- and now that the offer is off the table, negotiations are sticky to say the least. But an insider report from Politico says it's far from dead . . .From Politico: BIG SUMMER AHEAD FOR ENERGY LEGISLATION: Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a meeting of climate/energy chairs (Kerry/Boxer/Bingaman/Baucus/Rockefeller/Lincoln) for June 10, and asked them to give him feedback on the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act by June 8. "Shows new urgency - feeling very good," a Senate leadership source e-mails. Sen. Kerry met Wednesday with Phil Schiliro, President Obama's congressional liaison, to discuss the floor schedule for the bill.
Politico also notes that industry leaders from Fortune 500 companies like Google, PepsiCo, and more, have all signed a letter urging action, and that Obama's language is now reflective of the need to push the bill. He recently said of the BP Gulf spill, "If nothing else, this disaster should serve as a wake-up call that it's time to move forward on this legislation. It's time to accelerate the competition with countries like China, who have already realized the future lies in renewable energy."
It certainly makes sense -- what better time to push a bill whose underlying goal is to increase development and deployment of cleaner, safer energy sources? It doesn't take a political strategist to see that pointing to the Gulf right now and saying, "See, this can happen," is a pretty solid way to illustrate an important point to American voters.
And if Democrats are truly worried about their political fortunes this fall, what better outlet to vent some righteous, populist anger at than BP (and its ilk) which is now distinctly responsible for devastating both economies and ecosystems around the Gulf states. There's a real political opportunity here to send the message that relying on oil and fossil fuels has real-world dangers, and that we can grow our economy and prevent such disasters by turning to clean energy.
Let's hope they take it.