Will the BP spill kill the climate bill?

With plans for expanded offshore drilling in dispute, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are backing away from a compromise on the climate change bill.

The oil slick has reached the Louisiana coast, where dozens of dead sea turtles are washing ashore.
(Image credit: Getty)

Everyone agrees the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is an environmental disaster. But the fall-out doesn't stop there. The devastating spill could also wreck Obama's plans for comprehensive climate change legislation this year. Democrats had previously been willing to accept expanded offshore drilling in exchange for a big push for solar, wind, and other forms of green energy. But now leading Senate Democrats are demanding "tough new regulations for offshore drilling", with green lobbyists pressing for a complete ban. Republicans counter that any curtailment of offshore drilling would be a deal-breaker. Has the BP spill dashed the chances of finding a compromise? (Watch an MSNBC discussion about the oil spill's effect on the climate change bill)

This climate change bill is washed up: How's this for irony,

says Steve Benen in Washington Monthly.

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A disaster that should have made reforming our energy policies "a no-brainer" has actually killed a potential bill off. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is not close to having enough votes to push it through, and the parties are further away from consensus than ever. This bill is dead in the water.

"The spill, the Congress, and the climate bill"

It's the environmentalists' fault: The spill was a tragic accident, says Thomas J. Pyle in National Journal, but environmentalists are exploiting it to unravel a deal that would have boosted our domestic oil production. "Oil is a spectacular resource that we are blessed with," and any deal must recognise that. The green lobby's "political witch hunting" is what is killing this bill.

"Focus on cleanup, not politics"

Obama can resurrect this bill: "This oil spill is to the environment what the subprime mortgage mess was to the markets," says Thomas Friedman at the New York Times. "A wake up call and an opportunity." The time for compromise is over. If Obama "gets behind [the bill] with all his power, mobilizes the public and rounds up the votes," then the bill can still pass. But it's still unsure how much he wants to "rise to this occasion."

"No fooling Mother Nature"

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