Energy bill in deep water

One might think that when an exploded oil rig becomes one of the biggest environmental disasters in U.S. history, it might put the spurs to climate change legislation. The reverse could be true.

When President Obama announced on March 31 that offshore oil drilling would be part of a proposed climate change bill pending in the Senate, it was seen as a concession to win bipartisan support. Then, 20 days later, Deepwater Horizon served as an explosive reminder of the dangers of fossil fuel dependence, and the idea of offshore oil drilling became, to put it mildly, unpopular. On May 3, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger withdrew his support for offshore drilling near Santa Barbara County. And Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said during a May 4 news conference, “Any proposal for offshore drilling is dead on arrival.” He said he and others plan to filibuster any energy bill that includes offshore oil drilling.

But with no other incentive for Republicans, action on a new energy bill may be at a standstill.

Opined Jonathan Hiskes at “How’s this for a WTF moment: A catastrophic fossil-fuel disaster seems to be protecting Big Oil from comprehensive energy reforms. There’s got to be a way to change this situation.”