This is mostly water under the bridge now, but look, Dems got outmaneuvered this summer, as Republicans managed to successfully reframe the energy debate around drilling. They drummed up lots of public support and put Dems on the defensive. This is the fault not only of Dem lawmakers but also of everyone on the progressive side of things — there was simply no coordinated pushback.
But it is what it is. Dems are where they are. So Pelosi tried to get through this session — get to a new president, a new Congress — with minimal damage.
She didn’t have the votes to extend the Congressional moratorium on offshore drilling as a standalone provision. And the Republicans, and some Blue Dog Dems, had some very, very bad bills floating around. So Pelosi put together a bill with enough offshore drilling and oil shale development to get majority support and got it passed. She tried to call the Republicans’ bluff on "all of the above," daring them to reject the bill’s renewable provisions as "poison pills."
There is no chance the bill the House passed will become law. Zero. It’s unlikely there will be any new energy law out of this Congress. It’s all about political positioning for November.
A sensible environmental movement would have trained its fire on the Republicans who have waged a long and effective war against closing oil company tax loopholes, renewable energy mandates, and renewable tax credits. Dared them to vote for their precious drilling with renewables attached.
Instead, the movement — which the Washington Post comically calls "usually united" — split and took to internecine fighting yet again. Groups are out there loudly denouncing drilling and oil shale provisions that will never become law, attacking Pelosi from the left while she tries to maneuver her way out of a politically untenable situation with minimal damage.
Instead of the WaPo running with stories about "Republican hypocrisy on energy, exposed," they’re running stories about "environmental purists" being unhappy. It’s astonishing environmentalists ever win anything.