U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham has backed out of a highly publicized press conference today that was to unveil a bipartisan energy and climate bill.
This weekend he threatened that Democrats’ immigration push has given him doubts about working across the aisle. The White House has now put immigration reform ahead of the energy bill.
Graham’s office confirms that he has called off the press conference and is now taking a wait-and-see attitude.
Graham, along with Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Joe Lieberman of Connecticut have been negotiating for bipartisan support and Graham’s participation has spurred utility and corporate support.
When Graham was in South Carolina last week, he previewed some of the bill, saying that the goal is to become energy independent through Congress pricing carbon instead of the EPA, while protecting consumers from spikes in energy costs. He has been promoting this bill as an economic opportunity for South Carolina.
This legislation will include offshore drilling and 37 and a half percent of any revenue collected off the coast of South Carolina when it comes to oil and gas exploration would be shared with the state of South Carolina. That could be an enormous amount of money for us. It would incentivize drilling.
Graham has warned fellow senators that they need to preempt the EPA’s plans for tougher carbon emissions regulations.
If this trio of senators fails to deliver, who’s going to take up the cause? The EPA looms large. In 2007, the Supreme Court said that carbon was a pollutant under the Clean Air Act. So, our choices are a cap and trade system, which I think would be devastating to the economy. I want to replace it with a hybrid system that’s more business-friendly, that focuses more on energy independence, creating jobs and cleaner air rather than the theory of global warming.
Now the fate of the bill is questionable, though Senators Kerry and Lieberman say they will move on with the energy bill.