This is a more complicated question than it might appear. Lindsey Graham tried floating a compromise with John Kerry and Barbara Boxer that would have allowed more offshore drilling in exchange for support of a cap-and-trade system, hoping to pick up a few moderate Senate Republican votes to allow the bill to pass. Given how such moderation played out for Bob Bennett in Utah, that probably was a non-starter anyway, but the Obama administration played ball long enough to push a mildly pro-drilling policy, at least in some specific circumstances. If the massive oil spill in the Gulf has killed offshore drilling for the short term, what does Graham have to offer moderates as a carrot to join the climate-change coalition?
James Inhofe thought cap-and-trade was dead anyway, but doesn’t think offshore drilling is necessarily in the same status, as he explains to Stuart Varney on CNBC today:
The Exxon Valdez didn’t kill oil transport, and the Gulf spill won’t kill offshore drilling. It will, however, delay it considerably until the oil industry demonstrates that it can fix this kind of catastrophic failure when it occurs. Some estimates have this spill continuing for four months, during which time we can expect zero permits for new drilling or exploration. As long as that spill continues, new drilling may not be dead … but it will be in a coma.