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March 31, 2003
Volume 81, Number 13
CENEAR 81 13 p. 9
ISSN 0009-2347


LEGISLATION

House, Senate To Mark Up Energy Bills

JEFF JOHNSON

On April 1, the House Energy & Commerce Committee and the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee are expected to begin debate and markup of their respective national energy bills. The pace could be quick. The Senate committee is planning to mark up its bill during the first and second week in April, and bring the bill to the floor in May.

On the House side, the tempo might be even faster. There, committee Chairman W. J. (Billy) Tauzin (R- La.) and other House leaders have said they want an energy bill on the floor before the April 11 recess. A House subcommittee cleared a comprehensive energy bill in mid-March but deferred debate for the full committee on several difficult sections.

The House bill holds a host of provisions, including increases of gas and oil production, support for use of clean-coal technologies, and energy conservation. A hot debate is expected before the full committee and on the floor over provisions affecting the generation, transmission, and sale of electricity; drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR); and renewable energy and conservation incentives. Of interest to chemical companies is an industry-supported provision that allows sale of electricity generated by company cogeneration facilities. The provision was amended to the House bill in subcommittee.

Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.) last week released a draft of a comprehensive Senate energy bill that affects electricity generation, encourages gas and oil drilling offshore and on federal lands, provides aid for nuclear power, and addresses many other issues.

Missing in the Senate bill, however, is a provision allowing ANWR drilling. This follows a failed attempt to include such a provision in an earlier budget bill.



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