Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu said today she wouldn't support a stand-alone renewable electricity standard (RES) measure, insisting that any potential energy legislation the Senate takes up this fall should include oil spill-response measures and relief for the Gulf Coast states hit hardest by the environmental and economic effects of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
"Probably not on its own -- no, probably not on its own," Landrieu said of the RES measure. "There are so many other pieces that are just sort of must-haves for us, and one of them is lifting this moratorium. It just has to happen."
Sens. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) plan this afternoon to roll out a bipartisan renewable electricity standard measure in an effort to show Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) that such a mandate has enough supporters to pass in the Senate this year.
A mandate requiring utilities to source a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources like wind, solar and biomass was once considered a shoo-in for a Senate climate bill this year, but the measure has gained little traction so far.
Reid dashed hopes of RES passage this summer when he pulled the measure from his energy and oil spill-response package in July, saying it didn't have enough Republican supporters to overcome a procedural hurdle. But that bill never reached the floor, and supporters of an RES are pushing for its consideration this fall.
Brownback and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) will join Democrats this afternoon in unveiling the measure in an attempt to show Reid the measure has GOP support. But RES supporters may not have the support of the full caucus of Democrats.
Democrats Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas have both voiced concerns with such a measure.
And in an interview, Landrieu said she wouldn't consider an RES bill as a stand-alone measure or without the inclusion of specific spill-response provisions, like lifting the Obama administration's moratorium on deepwater drilling.
"There would be no reason for me to vote for a bill that would either produce more energy or save it without taking care of the coast that's producing the most of it now," she said. "If that's all it is, it's not even worth me talking about it."
Landrieu echoed her comments from this summer that she wouldn't support energy or oil spill-response legislation without provisions to lift the moratorium, issue new drilling permits, address oil companies' liability in the case of a future spill and share revenue from oil companies' spill penalties with the states where the spill occurred.
"No energy bill is going to pass -- well, they can try, but they're not going to have my support -- unless it includes some of those elements," she said.