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You Get Nuclear Power and Offshore Drilling, We Get Cap and Trade
In the ongoing attempt to sell the climate bill to moderate Republicans, more Democrats are opening up to the idea of including provisions for nuclear funding and offshore drilling (which this bill was designed to include). How much nuclear funding, you ask? If Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) gets his way, it would be treated as an equal to wind and solar, and receive the same incentives. Here's how the deal-making is breaking down.According to Climate Wire,
"Every idea is on the table," said Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), the lead sponsor of Senate climate legislation. "We're going to work in a bona fide way with everybody to see how to bridge a gap here. We've got to get a 60-vote margin. That means you've got to legislate, which means you have to compromise."Indeed. And it means that Democrats, many who've been reluctant to approach nuclear due to the wide range of ongoing, politically-charged issues it faces (the waste disposal problems, the huge costs, and the ever-present safety concerns) are now cautiously coming to the table on the issue. But at what cost?
Graham said he is pushing for language in the Senate bill that puts nuclear power on par with wind and solar power in terms of tax credits and inclusion in a nationwide renewable electricity standard.Which could be good news for effectively compromising a solution to passing the climate bill, but bad news for US energy spending--nuclear is so expensive that it could cut into the budget for truly renewable sources. Though putting nuclear and renewables on equal footing is a pretty dubious leap, and seems unlikely to happen.
But How Much Compromise is Too Much?
And then there's the offshore drilling:
Graham suggested Kerry look to the tentative agreement reached last year among roughly 20 Senate moderates -- Democrat and Republican -- that would open up large swaths of new federal acreage to oil and gas development in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and along the coasts of Virginia, North and South Carolina, and Georgia.Many more liberal Democrats certainly won't like this proposition, but again, it could be a useful carrot for drawing more moderates to the conversation. And I know plenty of environmentalists will be throwing their hands up in frustration if these sort amendments do get added to the bill--I'll be right there with them--but we've got to get this thing passed, and Kerry and Boxer are right to be holding such discussions and considering compromise.