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Graham Digs In On Climate

A lot of Senate observers have been wondering whether Republican Lindsey Graham's really going to stick around to support a climate bill. After all, he's already been censured by his state GOP and will face a lot of pressure from the leadership not to work with Democrats. Surely at some point he'll just drop the issue, right? Well, maybe, but he sure doesn't sound like a man about to back off:

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham renewed his call Tuesday for federal controls on greenhouse gas pollution, despite continued criticism from the Republican Party's most conservative members. ...

"I have come to conclude that greenhouse gases and carbon pollution is not a good thing," Graham said. "All the cars and trucks and plants that have been in existence since the Industrial Revolution, spewing out carbon day-in and day-out, will never convince me that's a good thing for your children and the future of the planet." ...

Graham is working on compromise legislation that would reduce greenhouse gas emissions as much as 17 percent by 2020, but also would include allowances for offshore oil drilling and incentives for increased use of nuclear power. ...

Although some environmentalists oppose offshore oil drilling and the expansion of nuclear power, Graham said both can be done cleanly. "Whatever political push back I get I'm willing to accept because I know what I'm trying to do makes sense to me," Graham said. "I am convinced that reason, logic and good business sense, and good environmental policy, will trump the status quo."

Mind you, during the health care debate, Republicans like Mike Enzi and Chuck Grassley and Olympia Snowe took part in negotiations, too, only to inch away one by one. But I don't remember any of them speaking out as strongly in favor of health care reform as Graham's doing on climate change. Or saying, "Whatever political pushback I get I'm willing to accept." And at least in the broad outlines, Graham's demands on the bill aren't a total non-starter with Democrats (environmentalists have been treading cautiously on the topic of nuclear, but it does look like a compromise is possible).