Environmentalists Concerned That Senate Dems Will Permit Drilling In Climate Change Negotiations

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

The Hill reports that environmentalists are expressing unease that Democrats will permit more offshore drilling in the Senate's climate change bill.

Sen. John Kerry, who co-sponsored the bill with Sen. Barbara Boxer, is reportedly talking to Senate Republicans about expanding drilling access in exchange for GOP support.

Also of concern to the environmental lobby is a section of the bill that expresses support for a nuclear "renaissance," as a new, more widely-used source of power.

"You're trying to solve a climate crisis and you are going to drill for more oil?" asked Jim Riccio of Greenpeace. "How does that make any sense whatsoever?"

The New York Times reports that appeasing Republicans without offending environmentalists could prove problematic.

"That's a very careful balancing act that [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid is going to have to play if he goes down that road," said Dan Holler, who analyzes the Senate for the conservative Heritage Foundation...

Adding even more new drilling to Senate proposals could prompt several Democrats to drop support from an energy and climate package, said one petroleum industry lobbyist. "I don't know what the net gain is here," this lobbyist said.

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