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  June 20  2005
Volume 83, Number 25
p. 16


  Senate Moves On Energy Bill
President increases pressure for bill; Senate leaders hope for quick passage

OFFSHORE Oil and gas exploration are among divisive issues before the Senate.
OFFSHORE Oil and gas exploration are among divisive issues before the Senate.


The Senate took up national energy legislation last week, clearing several provisions and setting the stage to de bate several more thorny sections, among them offshore oil and gas drilling, U.S. oil imports, local siting requirements for liquefied natural gas terminals, limits on carbon dioxide, and liability protection for makers of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE). Senate leaders maintained that a bill could be passed by the end of this week.

Increased ethanol use was among the issues resolved when the Senate approved provisions requiring refiners to add to gasoline at least 8 billion gal of ethanol annually by 2012. The House bill (H.R. 6) called for a 5 billion-gal standard.

Late last week, it also appeared likely that the Senate would approve tax breaks for energy providers worth $11 billion over five years, more than twice the House-passed level. The Senate bill (S. 10) includes tax aid for renewable fuels, energy efficiency, and conservation activities, in addition to the support for coal, oil, and other traditional energy sources that is the House's approach.

And President George W. Bush stepped deeper into the fray, last week urging passage of the energy bill when speaking at an energy efficiency conference. He even offered White House support to help broker differences in House and Senate MTBE provisions, a division that killed the bill in the Senate during the last Congress.

Bush wants to see an energy bill on his desk before the August recess. To make that happen, the Senate must move quickly, and a House-Senate conference committee must act just as quickly to resolve differences between the two bills and offer an acceptable compromise.

  Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
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