By Ben Geman - 03/24/10 12:34 AM EDT
* The meeting included liberal and moderate Democrats from all over the country. Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) was the only Republican other than Graham (who arrived late).
Here is a list of the Dems: Majority Whip Richard DurbinDick DurbinGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Wikileaks: Durbin pushed unknown Warren for Obama bank regulator The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (Ill.), Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseMoney for nothing: Rethinking CO2 Dem takes Exxon fight to GOP chairman's backyard Anti-trade senators say chamber would be crazy to pass TPP MORE (R.I.), Sherrod BrownSherrod BrownDem senator praises US steel after car crash Lobbying World Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs MORE (Ohio), Mark BegichMark BegichTrump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide Ryan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority MORE (Alaska), Mark WarnerMark WarnerPolicymakers face long road to financial technology regulation Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel Why Yahoo's breach could turn the SEC into a cybersecurity tiger MORE (Va.), Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCalifornia House Republicans facing tougher headwinds House and Senate water bills face billion difference Boxer, Feinstein endorse Kamala Harris in two-Dem Senate race MORE (Calif.), Debbie StabenowDebbie StabenowGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions MORE (Mich.), Tom CarperTom CarperYahoo hack spurs push for legislation Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Healthcare: McConnell unveils new Zika package | Manchin defends daughter on EpiPens | Bill includes M for opioid crisis MORE (Del.), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuTrump’s implosion could cost GOP in Louisiana Senate race Louisiana needs Caroline Fayard as its new senator La. Senate contender books seven-figure ad buy MORE (La.), Jeanne Shaheen Jeanne ShaheenPodesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs Obama signs 'bill of rights' for rape survivors into law Four military options for Obama in Syria MORE (N.H.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinAirbnb foes mobilize in Washington Top Dem: Russia trying to elect Trump Sanders, Dem senators press Obama to halt ND pipeline MORE (Calif.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharGreat Lakes senators seek boost for maritime system Podesta floated Bill Gates, Bloomberg as possible Clinton VPs EpiPen maker to pay 5M to settle overcharging case MORE (Minn.), Jeff MerkleyJeff MerkleyOvernight Healthcare: Top ObamaCare lobbyists reject 'public option' push | Groups sound alarm over Medicare premium hike Top ObamaCare lobbyists reject 'public option' push Liberal groups urge Schumer to reject Bayh for Banking gavel MORE (Ore.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonFederal agency under fire for selling recalled cars Senators offer renewed hope of ending hotel booking scams Yahoo hack spurs push for legislation MORE (Fla.), Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWhat the 'Bernie Sanders wing of the GOP' can teach Congress Senate Dems demand answers from Wells Fargo over treatment of military A fight for new rights MORE (Wash.), Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (Colo.) and Ben CardinBen CardinSanders, Dem senators press Obama to halt ND pipeline Dems to McConnell: Pass 'clean' extension of Iran sanctions Top Foreign Relations Dem: US needs to 'revisit' approach to Russia MORE (Md.).
* Lieberman told reporters afterward that the trio wants feedback from their colleagues on the plan, but soon, because they hope to complete a draft bill during the two-week Spring recess that is slated to begin March 29. Kerry noted that “we have some really key meetings in the next few days . . . we have a lot of work to do in the next 48 hours.”
* Lieberman said several low-carbon energy industries have the Senate trio’s back in opposing an “energy only” bill that omits limits on greenhouse gas emissions. (There’s more here on the “energy only” idea that several centrist Democrats are pushing.)
He cited the nuclear, renewable energy, natural gas vehicle, and electric car sectors, “all of whom say you can’t just do a traditional energy bill, you’ve got to price carbon.”
“That’s what is going to drive this change toward energy independence and carbon pollution reduction,” he added.
* One more thing from Lieberman: He rather humorously noted the tough slog an energy and climate bill faces. Asked about reconciling the nascent Senate bill with the sweeping climate and energy bill the House approved last year, he replied: “I have fantasies of reaching that point.”
* The offshore drilling expansion in the Senate plan will gives states discretion about what oil-and-gas leasing could occur in federal waters off their shores, some senators said, although details remain scarce. (Apparently it also dangles a cut of the leasing and royalty revenue before states as a carrot.)
Boxer said the plan includes “giving states the right to object.”
“They give a lot of power to the states on that,” she told reporters after leaving the meeting.
This isn’t a new idea -- various proposals that would allow states to “opt-in” to coastal drilling have been around for years. In 2008, the House approved -- during the feverish election-year fight over record energy prices -- a Democratic bill that relaxed leasing bans in place at the time.
That plan would have allowed drilling greater than 100 miles off state coasts, and within 50-100 miles if state governments agreed to it, while retaining bans on drilling that cover much of the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
A far more aggressive House GOP version that included the state revenue-sharing carrot passed the House in 2006. That plan would have similarly lifted bans greater than 100 miles from shore, while also allowing drilling within 50-100 miles unless state government’s formally opposed it, while states could “opt-in” to leasing closer than 50 miles from shore.
Neither passed the Senate, but Democrats under pressure over energy costs reluctantly allowed coastal leasing bans (which had covered most areas outside the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska) to expire in October of 2008. The Interior Department, under President Obama, hasn’t yet said where it may allow expanded offshore oil-and-gas leasing now that th formal bans are gone. But the White House is open to wider leasing as part of a broader energy package.