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Lieberman: Drilling Will Still Be in Climate Bill; ‘Accidents Happen’

Yesterday, after three Democratic senators urged their party’s leaders not to include an expansion of offshore oil drilling in climate legislation, I speculated on whether conservatives in the Democratic caucus would continue to insist on more drilling, now that the politics of the issue have taken a southward turn.

Well, it looks like Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) has answered my question. Lieberman, one of the three senators working on climate legislation — though that number, he says, might soon be reduced to two — argues that the massive oil spill that has threatened the country’s Gulf Coast is no reason to change his mind on offshore drilling. His reasoning? “Accidents happen.”

From National Journal:

“There were good reasons for us to put in offshore drilling, and this terrible accident is very rare in drilling,” Lieberman said. “I mean, accidents happen. You learn from them and you try not to make sure they don’t happen again.”

When asked whether the spill would change any of the drilling language he and Sens. John Kerry, D-Mass., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have developed, Lieberman said, “I don’t think so; certainly not to lead us to remove it.” He said the draft would allow drilling as close as 75 miles from the U.S. coastline.

The Atlantic Wire has a good survey of opinions on what the oil spill will mean for climate legislation.

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