There’s a lot of speculation over how the Senate is going to handle the energy bill, most of which is fueled by comments that Sen. Schumer made on Monday.

Sen. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), the third-ranking member of the Senate Democratic leadership and a close ally of Reid’s, said Monday that climate legislation would not be part of the bill that came to the Senate floor.

Schumer said the climate proposal crafted by Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) would be offered as an amendment to an energy bill based largely on legislation devised by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.).

The Bingaman proposal would be “the base bill upon which John Kerry will seek to add this bill,” Schumer said on MSNBC Monday morning.

Schumer, through his staff, has walked that prediction back a bit but his comments were at least a trial balloon and perhaps accurate. It’s probably a reaction to Sen. Lindsey Graham’s decision to oppose his own bill. Unless some Republicans are willing to cross the aisle, carbon caps aren’t happening. Consider that Sen. Jay Rockefeller is going to vote on Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s amendment to strip the EPA of their authority to regulate emissions.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) said he would support Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s (R-Alaska) resolution of disapproval to halt EPA regulation of greenhouse gases.

“I intend to vote for Sen. Murkowski’s resolution of disapproval because I believe we must send a strong message that the fate of West Virginia’s economy, our manufacturing industries and our workers should not be solely in the hands of EPA,” Rockefeller said in a statement.

Now, a lot of the past year I’ve been willing to give a nod to the procedural obstacles to passing the best legislation possible, but with the oil spill in the Gulf, it really should be possible to make a frontal assault on Republican intransigence. We’ll never have a better setting or a more compelling object lesson to help us make the case for strong anti-petrochemical legislation. On this particular issue, I believe it is a no-lose situation to go strong. We can always come back and pass something weak. But we ought to test the Republicans’ willingness to fight for the oil companies while there is an environmental apocalypse going on in the Gulf.