Cross-posted from the Wonk Room.

As the Kerry-Graham-Lieberman triumvirate works to craft green economy legislation, they’re negotiating with industry lobbyists who deny the threat of global warming. After meeting with President Barack Obama and a dozen industry-friendly lawmakers, the trio of Senate negotiators sat down with representatives of the fossil-based economy:

A cross section of industry power players met this afternoon in the Capitol with Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman. Groups represented at the meeting included the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, Edison Electric Institute, Nuclear Energy Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, Farm Bureau, American Forest and Paper Association, American Railroads, National Electric Manufacturers Association, and Portland Cement Association.

It’s perfectly reasonable for senators to meet with industry stakeholders as they work to unleash the clean energy economy. However, half of the lobbyist groups mentioned are legally challenging the threat of manmade climate change, with court petitions against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s greenhouse gas endangerment finding:

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– The Portland Cement Association, which has filed suit despite supposedly recognizing the need to reduce global warming pollution

– The American Petroleum Institute, which intends to blame climate policy for higher gas prices at every gas station in America

– The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has repeatedly questioned climate science

– The National Association of Manufacturers, which claims climate legislation is “anti-jobs, anti-energy

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– The American Farm Bureau Federation, which argues there is global cooling

One has to wonder how productive it can be to negotiate with polluters who deny the scientific reality of global warming.

On the other hand, the industry lobbyists thought the talks were “extraordinarily productive.” Tom Kuhn, president of Edison Electric Institute, the lead trade group for investor-owned electric utilities, told reporters:

It was a positive, encouraging discussion. I think they want to try and find ways to make things work from the standpoint of all the participants in that room, from the standpoint of the industrials and the oil companies.

John Shaw, the senior vice president of the Portland Cement Association, said:

It was an extraordinarily productive meeting. I think it was unprecedented for three senators, arguably each from a different political background, if you will, to sit down at a table and invite leaders from all different sectors, to try to create another level of dialogue. They want to start delving into the details, and creating those details with greater industry input than we’ve seen in the past.

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