The oil spill threatening the Gulf Coast is derailing movement on the Energy Bill. The bill has been drafted to balance the interests of business and environmentalists, but the oil spill makes it a non-starter for many politicians.
The bill, co-authored by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was already in trouble before the spill after Graham threatened to pull his sponsorship.
This is a good example of how exogenous events can have an effect on legislative action. Senate Republicans had stated that they would only support an energy bill if it included an expansion for offshore oil drilling, but the Louisiana oil spill has stiffened anti-drilling sentiment. Without drilling provisions, there is little hope that Democrats can get the 60-vote majority needed in the Senate.