Washington (CNN) - As the energy and climate debate in Congress faces partisan gridlock and new problems caused by the massive oil spill in the Gulf, one expert says the U.S. is already changing energy policy without Capitol Hill.
"We have action at all levels of government," said Prof. Marilyn Brown, an energy policy expert at Georgia Tech.
Brown points to President Obama's directives to raise gas mileage in cars and trucks as well as state and local tax credits for more efficient cars and homes.
"We have a renewable fuel standard put in place," Brown said, stressing that the oil debate is not the only piece of the energy equation. "We have electricity and have biofuels and we are pressing hard on both of those."
But, could a major energy or climate bill get through this year? Many in Washington doubt it.
Brown says that the BP oil spill has killed Democrats' strongest olive branch to Republicans: potential expansion of offshore drilling.
"Bill proponents don't have that leverage any more, they can't trade off with a Republican desire for offshore drilling," Brown insisted. "That's a thing of the past."
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