Seven in ten Americans say clean energy legislation must be fast-tracked in the wake of the catastrophic Gulf oil spill, according to a new Natural Resources Defense Council poll.
In addition, two-thirds want all new offshore drilling delayed pending the outcome of a full and independent investigation into the disaster and the implementation of new safeguards to protect against such debacles in the future.
The survey queried 803 registered voters nationwide May 4-6, and suggests that the public--if not Congress--is ready to support reasonable climate change and energy legislation.
“It's no surprise to me that Americans watching this ghastly disaster unfold are seeing it as a wake-up call for action we urgently need to take," NRDC Director of Programs Wesley Warren said. "Now is the time for Washington to give America the change in direction it deserves.”
According to a Bloomberg report, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is again considering setting aside comprehensive climate and energy legislation in favor of a smaller energy-only bill.
There was similar talk over the winter, as Congress ground away at health care reform. But renewed efforts by Senators John Kerry, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham brought a larger initiative back into play.
Graham (R-S.C.) has recently withdrawn his support for the bipartisan bill. The bill, which will be released Wednesday, is expected to include concessions to oil and gas companies for expanded offshore drilling. This could cause the bill to loose Democratic support as well.
Reid said he will make a decision about which legislative path to follow, based on the reception the Kerry-Liberman bill receives.
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