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More On The 'gang Of Ten'

It looks like the "Gang of Ten" energy compromise that Josh mentioned last week—which would lift the moratorium on offshore drilling in four states in exchange for an array of clean-energy incentives (paid for by repealing a handful of tax breaks for oil companies)—is advancing fairly rapidly in the Senate. Um, in other words, yes, the Paris Hilton energy plan...

Obama's cautiously praised the idea, McCain's holding back, and Rush Limbaugh's screaming at Republicans not to support it. Harry Reid's staff, meanwhile, is working with the bill's drafters, presumably to make sure Dems don't get rolled like they do on most "compromise" bills. (For now, the Senate bill doesn't open up Western lands for oil-shale drilling, though a companion bill in the House does—that would be a major sticking point, since shale drilling is vastly more destructive, and turning oil shale into energy produces far more in the way of greenhouse-gas emissions than conventional oil does.)

Anyway, in principle, I agree with Josh's analysis below of why a compromise along these lines could work, though we'll really have to see how the bill turns out here. The final legislation will need 60 votes—and probably 67 to override a White House veto, since Bush won't support repealing tax breaks for oil companies (even if many of those deductions are largely unnecessary with oil prices this high). So the whole thing could very easily turn into an expensive, pork-filled (or ethanol-filled) mess that's actually worse than nothing.

--Bradford Plumer