Posted by Matt Dempsey

Inhofe EPW News Roundup

"Tombstone"- "Very Unlikely" - "Uphill Battle"- "Non Starter"

Sen. Inhofe on Fox Business Declares Senate Climate Bill Dead
CQ: Drilling Scaled Back in Climate Bill (05/12/10)  - "I'll let them do the unveiling," said New Jersey Democrat Frank R. Lautenberg, an offshore drilling critic. "You know what an unveiling is, typically, in a graveyard? It's when you first see the tombstone."An expansion of offshore drilling has been a cornerstone of the bipartisan climate change bargain that Massachusetts Democrat John Kerry, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham and Connecticut independent Joseph I. Lieberman have been working for months to strike. Opening more coastal waters to drilling was supposed to be an incentive for Republicans and oil-state Democrats to support caps on emissions. The April 20 explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and the blown well that is spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico changed the political calculation.

Bloomberg: U.S. Climate Bill Would Expand Offshore Drilling, Cut Emissions (05/12/10)  - Senate leaders will meet next month to decide "what we need to do with energy for this year," Reid said yesterday. Reid will probably choose an "energy-only" bill over Kerry and Lieberman's global-warming legislation, which is "very unlikely" to become law this year, K. Whitney Stanco, a Washington-based analyst for Concept Capital, said in an e-mail. Kerry and Lieberman are unveiling their legislation amid the controversy over the Gulf oil spill because "they have genuinely tried to balance interests in hopes of coming up with 60 votes" in the Senate and their work will "influence the debate in the future," Stanco said.

The Hill: Nelson uses Twitter to tell Kerry, Lieberman that drilling in climate bill won't fly (05/12/10) - Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) is using Twitter to warn Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) that their upcoming climate and energy bill shouldn't pare back the no-drilling buffer off Florida's Gulf of Mexico shores. "Word is climate bill might let rigs in Florida's no-drill zone. If Sens. Kerry, Lieberman are following me on Twitter: that's a non starter," Nelson tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. Under a 2006 law, oil-and-gas leasing is banned in a swath of the eastern Gulf of Mexico that extends 100-125 miles off the Florida panhandle and around 235 miles west of Tampa.

BNA: Uphill Battle to Get 60 Votes (05/12/10) - The Senate bill still faces an uphill battle to get 60 votes before senators turn their attention to the November midterm elections, particularly after Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), the bill's lone Republican supporter, abandoned the effort. Graham, who had worked with his two colleagues since the fall of 2009 to wed emissions caps with increased incentives for offshore drilling, nuclear power, and other industries, withdrew his support in April when Democratic leaders raised the possibility of moving an immigration bill to the floor before the climate bill. "Now I didn't say I was confident" of passage, Kerry said. "I am confident that there are votes out there [and] we have to go fight for them. It's a long, tough fight-we're going to do the best we can."

Congress Daily:  Climate Plan Aims To Provide Something For Everyone (05/12/10)  - Begich said having revenue sharing in the bill "is a good step forward." He added that any bill that does not include drilling is a "nonstarter" with him. But some senators, like Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman, have staunchly opposed guaranteed revenue sharing for coastal-producing states and want all revenues to go to federal coffers that all states could tap. Bingaman stopped short Tuesday of saying it would be a deal breaker for him. "I want to see the whole package of legislation before I make any judgment on the whole package," he said.

NYT: Climate Bill's Release Coincides With Rising Conservative Backlash (05/12/10)  - Signs of a conservative backlash to Democratic initiatives are increasing as Senate sponsors release an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions. The charged political environment potentially complicates efforts to convince a handful of Republicans to support the measure. As Utah Republicans were replacing veteran Sen. Bob Bennett Saturday with a new conservative primary candidate, a separate surprise shift to the right was taking place in Maine, home to two Republican senators considered crucial to the carbon effort. Maine's GOP convention replaced its modest party platform Saturday with a last-minute substitute that seeks defeat of federal cap-and-trade efforts and calls for an investigation into "the warming myth."

AFP: After long wait, Senate takes up climate (05/12/10)  - Some of Kerry's allies say he has watered down the bill too much, particularly with provisions for offshore drilling. Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent and staunch environmentalist, voiced "deep disappointment" with the legislation's direction even before the oil leak. Sources close to the legislative process said the Kerry-Lieberman bill would still provide for offshore drilling but has included changes to ensure better environmental protection. The Pew Environmental Group on Tuesday appealed for a halt to new offshore drilling until "robust safety and environmental standards" are established, saying the Gulf of Mexico leak showed "significant lapses" in US policy

Roll Call: Climate Bill's Backers Press On Without GOP Support (05/12/10)  - Reid's hedging this week seemed to reflect the skepticism Kerry and Lieberman are facing in the Democratic caucus - much less the Republican caucus, which believes Democrats are merely seeking to score political points with the rest of their legislative agenda this year.  Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) said the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico was complicating Kerry and Lieberman's ability to find Democrats with the political desire to take on the complex issue this year, particularly since their measure is expected to propose increased domestic oil and natural gas drilling.  "I think the appetite was fairly strong until about two weeks ago," Carper said. "And with the offshore oil and gas blowout, I think we've seen a number of folks in our caucus, particularly those who represent states along the East Coast, are increasingly nervous about a grand compromise that includes anything new at this time on oil and gas development."

Boston Globe: Kerry to unveil bill without GOP support (05/12/10)  - In addition to confronting a new reality on offshore drilling since the spill, Kerry and Senator Joe Lieberman are taking a political gamble in releasing their much anticipated climate and energy bill without the Republican support that Kerry once called crucial. Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, had spent months helping to craft the proposal, only to back away several weeks ago.

Reuters: Senate climate bill unveiled but fate uncertain (05/11/10)  - WHERE IS LINDSEY GRAHAM? The Senate launch of the bill likely will be overshadowed by an absent player -- Republican Senator Lindsey Graham -- who spent about six months collaborating with Kerry and Lieberman, only to drop out late in the game.Graham spoiled an April 26 unveiling of the legislation, protesting Senate Democratic leaders' plans to put immigration reform on He complained the maneuver meant the climate bill would not get serious consideration in an already tight legislative calendar. By last week, with oil gushing from the floor of the Gulf of Mexico, Graham was calling for a "pause" in climate control efforts. He said he feared the oil slick, which threatens the shores of four southern U.S. states, would ruin chances for expanding offshore oil drilling in the climate bill.

LA Times: Senate's delayed climate change-energy bill set for unveiling (05/11/10) - Groups such as the Sierra Club have threatened to fight any bill that strips EPA and state regulatory authority. No issue figures to pose as much political difficulty as offshore drilling. In the wake of the BP spill, several coastal Democrats have threatened to block any legislation that expands drilling. Some Republicans and centrist Democrats, such as Sen. Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana, have insisted on continued expansion of offshore drilling Critics of climate legislation have long argued that emission limits would raise energy costs and cripple the economy. "This bill is a compilation of just about every bad idea that has emerged in the energy debate," said Patrick Creighton, spokesman for the free-market Institute for Energy Research think tank. "Two things are certain if this bill becomes law: Energy prices will skyrocket, and jobs will be shipped overseas."

Reuters: Senate climate bill unveiled but fate uncertain (05/11/10)  - There is no guarantee the bill will even be debated this year and it is unclear whether a massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will hamper the legislation or prompt a more urgent look at U.S. energy and environmental policy. A summary of the long-delayed bill, obtained by Reuters on Tuesday, contained few surprises as many details had leaked out over the past several weeks. At the core of the bill is a goal to cut U.S. carbon emissions by 17 percent by 2020. But the summary did not address several questions, such as how new pollution permits would be distributed or sold to electric power utilities.

Wash. Post: Point Carbon: Climate bill has new drilling protections (05/11/10) - The Kerry-Lieberman bill jump starts the Senate clean energy and global warming debate," said Daniel J. Weiss, who directs climate strategy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund. "The BP oil disaster has increased Americans' support for clean energy policies that boost investments that would reduce oil use, cut pollution and create jobs. President Obama and Senate leaders must take the reins from Kerry and Lieberman to achieve these goals." But critics such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell, whose libertarian think tank accepts money from energy interests, said the proposal would raise costs for average Americans.  "The bill crafted by Kerry and Lieberman - and sometimes Lindsey Graham- manages to have something to harm everyone except big businessspecial interests," Ebell said.