Bill Nelson: Climate bill with offshore drilling 'dead on arrival'

A senator who wants to nix plans to expand offshore oil drilling in the wake of a massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico said Friday that a climate bill with drilling expansions included is a non-starter.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who on Thursday called on the Obama administration to scrap its plan to open new coastal waters for oil and gas exploration, said that similar provisions should not be included in a climate change bill.

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"I think that's dead on arrival," Nelson said on MSNBC, when asked about advancing a bill with offshore drilling language included.

Nelson's comments underscore the wide-reaching political implications of the massive spill, which is threatening the Louisiana coastline.

The Senate climate and energy bill has been expected to include measures to boost offshore development -- including provisions that give coastal states that have new offshore development a generous slice of the leasing and royalty revenue.

Also, the White House needs congressional approval for expanded leasing in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, where a large no-drilling buffer off Florida's coast is still in place until mid-2022.

Those items have been seen as key in attracting Republican support for the climate bill, but the spill has emboldened opponents of drilling to push back against their inclusion.

Efforts in the Senate to spur more drilling have been accompanied by the president's plan to expand offshore oil and gas exploration over the long-term.

Cross-posted to E-2 Wire

Ben Geman contributed to this post