SO THE PHONE RANG JUST A BIT AGO, AND IT WAS SEN. BOB CORKER, calling to talk about the “gang of ten” energy compromise plan. That’s gotten some flak from Republicans, but Corker called to say that it’s unfair. He was fired up — by contrast to his laid-back persona the last time we spoke, during the campaign — and says that in fact, the bill that he’s a co-sponsor of is a better — more pro-drilling and pro-energy — bill than the McConnell bill that garnered 44 Republican votes in the Senate. Here are some of his points:
1. The “gang of 10” bill unilaterally opens up drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, with no state veto. The GOP bill didn’t do that, because Mel Martinez and Charlie Crist didn’t want it. Non-Gulf states Virginia, Georgia, and the Carolinas can opt-in if they like; the old GOP bill was opt-in everywhere, allowing Florida to block drilling in the Gulf off of its shores.
2. The bill also allows for seismic exploration along the entire continental shelf.
3. The ban on drilling within 50 miles of the coast was also in the GOP bill.
4. Contrary to many commentators’ claims, the “gang of ten” bill is not a lifeline for Obama: “What a bunch of C-R-A-P. ” (Yes, he spelled it out like that) “If Obama embraced this, he would be the biggest flipflopper ever.” A lot of the opposition to the bill is really a case of trying to keep drilling as an election issue instead of getting more drilling.
5. The bill includes a Zubrin-like flex-fuel provision, requiring that 75% of cars by 2015 and 85% by 2020 be capable of running on something besides gasoline.
6. “Our bill also opens up coal-to-liquids. We couldn’t have gotten 44 Republicans for that.”
7. The bill is “incredibly aggressive” on nuclear power, including accelerated-depreciation provisions like those for solar and wind power, more NRC resources to speed licensing, and an end to the Carter-era ban on nuclear fuel reprocessing. “We couldn’t have gotten 44 Republicans on this.”
8. The bill also promotes cellulosic ethanol.
I confess that I haven’t followed this as closely as I probably should have, but anyway, that’s the pro-bill side. He didn’t say this, but my guess is that if he’s calling bloggers, it probably means that he doesn’t think his side is getting a hearing in the traditional media, or in the talk-radio part of alternative media.
UPDATE: Here’s their statement.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Ace comments: “Worth reading, but the Gang of Ten compromise keeps all Pacific drilling off-the-table, and as I understand the matter, not only is that a lot of oil, but it could begin producing oil within the year. . . . Corker may think he’s gotten a lot in exchange for this enormous compromise, but I think he’s given away far too much. It’s bad enough that the huge reserves of ANWR remain off the table; now we’re going to permanently declare most of the Pacific off-limits as well?”