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More On The Gulf Spill And The Climate Bill

To add a little to the last post: Yes, it's surreal that the c.w. in Washington is that a massive oil disaster might make it more difficult to pass a big energy bill intended to wean us off from fossil fuels. But here's Harry Reid taking the counterintuitive view:

“I think it should spur it on,” Reid said. “We have to take care of this issue. I am amazed how difficult it seems to be to get people interested in alternative energy.”

Reid cited Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision last week to approve a long-standing permitting application for the Cape Wind project off the Massachusetts coast. “Alternative energy is what we need to do as rapidly as we can,” Reid said. “So I think rather than slow us up, I think it should expedite our doing energy legislation.”

Meanwhile, Jonathan Hiskes has an interesting post about Barack Obama's reluctance to tie the Gulf disaster into a broader critique of our fossil fuel dependency. So far, we've mostly just gotten is this monotone statement: "I continue to believe that domestic oil production is an important part of our overall strategy for energy security."

Well, sure. No one's suggesting we end all domestic oil production tomorrow. But our addiction to fossil fuels has a lot of downsides. And it's not just massive spills—there are also the effects of climate change to worry about, which would make the current Gulf disaster look minuscule in comparison. (To take just one example: Florida politicians are freaking out that the oil slick might hit the coral reefs in the Keys. But if temperatures keep rising and the oceans keep acidifying, there might not be any coral reefs by the end of the century.) It's hardly cheap political point scoring to call attention to these links.