Drilling creates climate heartburn
By Juliet Eilperin
When it comes to climate legislation, every potential fix creates another problem. Like offshore drilling.
President Obama's decision last month to open up new areas to oil and gas drilling pleased some swing senators such as Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.). But it's angered some of the bill's traditional proponents, including New Jersey Democrats Robert Menendez and Frank Lautenberg, and Maryland Democrats Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski.
"I've said to Kerry from the very beginning, the whole issue of drilling is problematic for many of the coastal states, especially for New Jersey, where tourism is our second-largest industry," Menendez said, referring to one of the lead climate bill authors, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (D). "It very strongly undermines my ability to support climate change legislation, when I've always been a climate change legislation supporter."
That's the sort of "please the right, tick off the left" dynamic Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) alluded to in a videotaped interview with Politico that came out Tuesday.
On the other hand, Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said there may be one way to resolve the issue over whether to bar the Environmental Protection Agency's ability to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, something many Republicans and some Democrats want to do. Under a compromise that's been floated, each regulated sector would have a certain amount of time to meet its climate goals without having to face regulation under the Clean Air Act for those emissions.
"EPA steps aside, but if these goals aren't met, EPA gets back in the business of regulating greenhouse gases," Udall said. He added that while he doesn't know whether Kerry and his colleagues have incorporated it into the draft they will unveil Monday, "there's sure been a lot of discussion about it."
Whether that fix ends up annoying a key senator or not remains to be seen.
Juliet Eilperin| April 20, 2010; 2:11 PM ET Save & Share:
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