A Hint Of Energy Compromise?

While leaders of both parties in the U.S. House continue to lob verbal grenades at each other over energy policy, some rank and file members in both parties hope to get together behind a compromise plan to deal with record oil and gas prices.

Leaders of the bipartisan group will meet today, spearheaded by Rep. John Peterson (R-PA) and Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI.)

Both men argue the US needs to extract more energy resources from here at home, as they back lifting the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration, as well as drilling in ANWR.

The two hope to announce their working group tomorrow, composed of ten Democrats and ten Republicans.

"We are sending hundreds of billions of dollars to other countries to buy oil-- the largest transfer of wealth in the history of the world-- without fully and carefully considering the possibilities here at home," said Abercrombie.

Peterson has tried for several years to lift the ban on new offshore oil and gas exploration.  He has 170 co-sponsors to do that on a bill in the House.

"In order for us to remain competitive and rescue ourselves from a second 'great depression', Washington needs to put the politics aside and address the crisis," said Peterson.

Whether they can change the current trajectory of this political fight is unclear, but it does present an interesting challenge to Democratic leaders in the House.

I think if the House could vote today - just on lifting the offshore ban - it would probably pass.

But votes don't occur in a political vacuum.  In order to get that through, a compromise plan is going to have to include a lot of things Democrats want to do on efficiency, conservation and more.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi has made it very clear she hotly opposes the idea of opening offshore areas or ANWR in Alaska, last week calling the argument that more drilling lands are needed a "hoax."

But already, there are Democrats breaking with Pelosi.  Whether they take the next step and actively work to force a vote on legislation opposed by the Speaker, that's a different scenario.

It may be an interesting week.