The Hill reports that, rather than forcing John McCain and a lot of endangered Republican incumbents to vote againt children’s healthcare again, Democrats in Congress are going to work on an energy bill that will include some allowance for drilling.
House Democrats are ready to propose an expansion of offshore drilling as part of a broader energy bill they plan to introduce this month, according to a top Democrat.
Democratic Caucus Vice Chairman John Larson (Conn.) said the majority is prepared to back “responsible” offshore drilling through a bill that could be brought to the floor as early as next week.
“We will consider responsibly opening portions of the Outer Continental Shelf for drilling while demanding that Big Oil companies use the leases they have already been issued or return them to the public,” Larson said Saturday in the Democratic response to the President’s radio address.
Larson said the legislation will also seek to curb excessive oil market speculation and call for a reinvestment of government royalties into alternative energy technology.
This is not actually news. When Obama said he would reluctantly accept more drilling as part of a package that included a lot of other, smarter energy policies, it became clear the party would follow his lead.
And, if it is done well, it might actually be brilliant jujitsu. If the bill were to define "responsible" by requiring that states agree to the drilling and by demanding that the drilling actually look like it would do some good, it would result in very little new drilling at all–because drilling is, from a policy standpoint, not "responsible." And a package could take the Republicans’ most successful (arguably, their only) policy recommendation, drilling, off the table for the election.
Of course, that all assumes this would be done well…
Meanwhile, in Alaska, the Caribou Barbie is trying to pull of her own energy jujitsu, though it’s not yet clear what that jujitsu might entail. Andrew Halcro reports that Governor Palin is trying to get the oil companies onto a conference call this week, but it’s not yet clear why she wants to talk.
Governor Sarah Palin has requested a conference call this week with the CEO’s of the major oil companies playing a role in the potential development of Alaska’s natural gas pipeline.