Lost: Graham will vote for Dirty Air amendment, wants more drilling
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) said yesterday he was confused by Graham’s demands for what needs to be done to win his vote on the climate bill.
Sen. Lindsey Graham’s keeps issuing contradictory and cryptic statements on the climate bill (see Graham is incoherent). He is now officially more incoherent and incomprehensible than Rand Paul and the TV series Lost respectively, as E&E News PM (subs. req’d) makes clear:
“I know we need to enhance on- and offshore drilling, to make us more energy independent, but I’m not willing to say let’s go forward boldly now until I find out what happened,” he said.
There are at least a half-dozen investigations under way on the spill. “I just need someone to stop it, tell me what happened, and how we fix it,” Graham said. “I don’t need 500 people to tell me what happened.”
I feel the exact same way about the final episode of Lost!
Graham also said he could vote for a Senate energy and climate bill, but he must see offshore drilling provisions he originally negotiated with Kerry and Lieberman added back into the bill. At issue is language stripped out at the behest of Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) that would maintain a 2006 law to keep rigs 125 to 235 miles off Florida’s Gulf coast.
“They took the eastern Gulf provisions and dramatically changed that. I couldn’t live with that,” Graham said.
“I wouldn’t be the 60th vote for the drilling provisions in this bill, but I could be the 60th vote for this concept if it gets back to where it was before,” he added. “But I’m looking for more than 60 votes. You’re either going to get 40 votes or probably 70 votes.”
That position is not only incoherent, but it is incomprehensible and indefensible:
Bingaman also found fault with Graham’s reasoning that the climate bill needs to be put on hold while the Gulf of Mexico oil spill investigations continue. “I think the issue of what we do on climate change, putting a limit on emission on greenhouse gas emissions and a requirement that that be reduced, that can be done without some conclusion about this oil spill in the Gulf,” he said.
“I favor plugging the leak. I favor stopping the spill. But it’s hard to say why the failure to complete the investigation of that spill would be a justification for not limiting greenhouse gas emissions,” Bingaman added. “It seems to me a stretch.”
Certainly it’s not a good omen for the bill, whatever he means. The possibility that Kerry and Lieberman would return to the original language — allowing drilling near the Florida coast — seems as remote as the possibility that anybody is going to approve drilling off the coast of South Carolina for a long, long time.
And to add to Graham’s incoherence/hypocrisy, he supports Lisa “Dirty Air” Murkowski’s radical attempt to overrule science:
“I think it will pass,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.). “There are a lot of people who will be in the camp of, ‘We should do it, not the EPA.’”
Graham is a co-sponsor of the disapproval resolution from Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) that would effectively halt EPA’s endangerment finding, the basis for its climate rules for cars and industrial facilities. The resolution, which needs 51 votes to pass, is expected on the floor by the week of June 7.
Murkowski’s bid is seen largely as a symbolic one given the resolution’s long-shot prospects in the House, as well as an expected veto from President Obama. Still, her effort is considered a critical early proxy for the Senate as Democratic leaders weigh whether they have the votes to pass a more comprehensive climate bill.
So far, Murkowski has 41 supporters, including three Democrats: Sens. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas and Ben Nelson of Nebraska. Graham said he thinks a majority of senators will ultimately vote for the resolution, though he predicted most would do so with the understanding that a broader bill must pass too that combines climate and energy issues in a manner different from the House-passed climate measure.
“Some people will say carbon shouldn’t be regulated at all, I think that’s the minority view,” Graham said. “I think the majority of the body will say that Congress should set the carbon regulations, not the EPA, which gets us back to … when Congress is going to do it and how we’re going to do it. I believe that you’ll never regulate carbon without having energy independence, without a more business-friendly framework than Waxman-Markey. That’s what we’ve been trying to do.”
Clears things up, no?
- BREAKING: Sen. Graham walks away from climate and energy bill over immigration plans
- Chait and Klein: Lindsey Graham is Right
- Lindsey Graham says, “yeah,” there’s a chance for climate to move forward this year
- Is Obama blowing his best chance to shift the debate from the dirty, unsafe energy of the 19th century to the clean, safe energy of the 21st century?