Commentary: Political divide keeps even limited energy legislation in limbo

Comprehensive climate and energy legislation? Forget it. Cap and trade? Bite your tongue. Oil spill legislation and incentives for greater fuel efficiency in homes and vehicles? Not happening.

Not in the United States Senate, anyway.

Senate Republicans have used the filibuster threat and occasional support from a few Democrats to block most every Democratic effort at energy legislation this year. Even the most recent Democratic bill, a narrowly focused effort on oil spill liability, green jobs and energy efficiency aimed at passing something before the August recess, couldn't break the stalemate.

Some of this is due to legitimate differences of opinion on the best course. Much of it is political.

This is not news. And it isn't cause for despair. But it's mighty frustrating for Alaskans and Americans watching the Senate keep energy policy in a state of limbo.

Read congressional press releases and you have the sense that there's a tremendous flow of legislation aimed at responding to the Gulf oil spill, carbon emissions, energy production and independence and research. And there is. It's just that most of it isn't going anywhere.

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