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Lobbying Battle For Senate Climate Bill Intensifies

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The National Journal reports that the lobbying effort over climate change could grow even more contentious than the fight for health care reform.

The climate bill battle has fractured partisan, geographic and industry allegiances; thrown erstwhile enemies into strange-bedfellow partnerships; and sparked allegations of dirty tricks on both sides of the debate. And this is just the beginning.

The bill's slow move through the Senate hasn't been uneventful. The fracas between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and performance group The Yes Men grabbed headlines, and a lobbying firm for the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity was recently exonerated by lawmakers on charges of waging a deception grassroots lobbying campaign.

But the Washington Post reports today that the bill has "almost no hope for passage" with Democrats divided on the legislation and Republicans risking serious backlash from constituents if they sign on.

Sen. George Voinovich (Ohio), who was once thought to be one of the only members of the GOP who could support the controversial cap-and-trade bill, is leading the opposition.

The National Journal reports that the despite its divisiveness, the bill has forged several unlikely partnerships. Sen. Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) broke ranks with his party to support the legislation and while he remains under fire by many in his own state, environmental groups have rallied around the Republican.

From the Washington Post:

"There is nowhere near 60 votes for a nuclear power bill on its own. There's not 60 votes for a cap-and-trade bill as it's currently constructed," Graham said in an interview. He said combining the two measures is "the only way you'll get to 60 votes."