With the Obama administration pushing health care reform legislation in its early days and the failure of Sens. John Kerry, Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman to come to an agreement on climate change and energy security legislation, any clean energy legislation appears dead for now. But there is some hope that the foundations of a Senate push for clean energy legislation are quietly being built.
First, Senator Kerry and Senator John McCain appear to have renewed their ability to work together with the introduction of the Senate's Libya resolution. If there is any area where the two could carry this newfound momentum, it would be energy security legislation. Kerry's credentials as a Senate liberal and a powerful committee Chairman and elder statesman would work well with McCain's background in security issues and relationship with Lieberman and Graham.
Reasonable Republicans with a background in national security have a track record of leading on climate change and clean energy compromises. Former Senator John Warner, (R-VA, no relation to current Virginia Democrat Mark Warner) in his waning days in the Senate, stood on the floor with Democrats to argue for a major climate change bill whose time had not yet come. And of course, Lindsey Graham has shown that, in better political times, he can help frame energy security issues.
In addition, Senator Richard Lugar introduced his "Lugar Practical Energy Climate Plan" on Facebook today.
So, while the solutions are varied and often contradictory, the momentum and coalitions for energy legislation appear promising. If Senator Kerry, McCain, Graham, and Lieberman could all agree on a compromise energy security package, there is still hope for the future.