The Gulf oil breach appears to be adding fuel to the fire quietly burning beneath comprehensive energy and climate change legislation. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is asking committee chairmen for ideas that he can pull together into an energy bill. Reid says he plans to meet this week with his chairmen and wants proposals by the Fourth of July break.
In a letter, Reid said that among the actions he thinks need to be explored are ensuring the oil companies are held accountable for their actions and the damages caused by their operations. This means Congress must move much more quickly to help the country kick the oil habit as soon as possible and push harder for the production of affordable alternative fuels and advanced vehicles.
An energy expert and senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, says Reid's letter suggests he wants to design a bill that would include making oil rigs safer, reducing oil use and reducing oil pollution. Daniel Weiss notes that addressing oil pollution includes global warming pollutants produced by burning oil.