Lieberman on Gulf Spill: “Accidents Happen”

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With oil politics threatening to upend the already fraught Senate climate and energy negotiations, Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Tuesday that senators aren’t planning to scrap offshore drilling provisions in the measure.

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

Lieberman’s nonchalance about the Gulf spill belies the increasing tensions among Democrats about over how climate and energy legislation should deal with drilling. Three coastal state Democrats have pledged to vote against anything that expands drilling. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) said he would filibuster legislation if he has to, and has pushed John Kerry (D-Mass.), the bill’s lead Democrat, to remove those provisions.

“I have explained my position in no uncertain terms,” Nelson told reporters. He said that he has not gotten any commitment from Kerry that drilling would not be on the table. Yet the issue threatens to further delay the release of a bill that already faces an uncertain path forward in the Senate. The measure remains under wraps after the lone Republican co-author, Lindsey Graham (SC), walked away from negotiations after butting heads with Democratic leadership on the timing of the measure.

Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.) acknowledged in remarks to reporters Tuesday (via The Hill) that the caucus is split on drilling: “The Senate and even our caucus goes in different directions on the drilling question … With the spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it is front and center and may be a major element in this debate.”

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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