Americans are on to President Obama’s attempt to use the BP oil spill as an excuse to pass his highly unpopular cap-and-trade legislation.

At a recent meeting at the White House, the president told 23 senators that they must put a price tag on carbon emissions. “The president was very clear about putting a price on carbon and limiting greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senator John Kerry, co-sponsor of the Kerry-Lieberman bill that would do just that.

However, several senators at the meeting, including Democrats Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., and Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., had voted last month for an amendment by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. The amendment failed on a 53-47 vote, but the senators who voted to restrain the EPA apparently have strong public opinion on their side.

A new national survey commissioned by the Institute for Energy Research found that even with the oil still gushing out of the Deepwater Horizon well, 70 percent of Americans oppose new energy taxes that will drive up domestic energy costs even further.

Even more significantly, the same percentage reject the major premise of the Kerry-Lieberman bill: namely, that such a tax would have a discernible effect on global warming.

“The American people are smarter than the political class in Washington think,” said IER president Thomas Pyle. ”They see this tragic accident playing out in the Gulf, and are overwhelmingly opposed to the Obama administration’s plan to capitalize on it politically by pushing a national energy tax….There is no interest in pushing through a radical agenda in the name of global warming and there is no interest on the part of consumers to pay more at the pump for a gallon of gasoline.”