Thursday, September 11, 2008

Latest word on the House's evolving energy bill

Gene Green (D-Tex.) said last night that House Democrats are close to finishing the comprehensive energy bill they've been working on, and that it should come to a vote on Tuesday. "It's still a work in progress," he told me.

But it contains a provision to open more of the Outer Continental Shelf to leasing, he continued. "That's the success. It probably will be the biggest opening in history. It will cover all coastal states. There will be no drilling between 0 and 50 miles. Between 50 and 100, the states would have to opt in. Over 100 miles, it would be federal," Green said.

He said that the proposal could open hundreds of millions of additional acres, compared with 50 million acres off Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia in the Senate's compromise proposal and 25 million acres in the eastern Gulf of Mexico in the proposal developed by the House working group led by Reps. John E. Peterson (R-Pa.) and Neil Abercrombie (D-Ha.).

The bill contains carbon capture and sequestration language which House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-W.Va.) sought. It does not specifically address Section 526 of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (banning government contracts for fuels that produce more carbon emission than conventional sources) or the oil shale moratorium, although giving the states with oil shale deposits on federal lands a choice in the matter was discussed. "Utah would like to see it happen. Colorado would not," Green said.

House Democrats would like to provide $16-18 billion for renewable and alternative energy technology research and development and for the emergency heating assistance fund for low-income families and individuals, but they haven't settled on how to pay for it, he continued.

But he suggested that the OCS approach looks pretty certain. "For a Democratic Congress to be passing this is impressive. This time, it could be hundreds of millions of acres. By the time we get back Monday and look at the final bill, we'll have talked to our constituents. I also hope to pick up some Republican support," Green said.

2 Comments:

Blogger Scott Nelson said...

Interesting.

November 4, 2008 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Barbara said...

Hi Nick!

I was just reading your blog and am happy you're doing this.

Tell me: do things ever change in Washington? I left in 1989, when we still worked @ The Oil Daily.

Back then, Congress was also considering a "comprehensive energy bill" and called it a "work in progress." Hard to believe 20 years have somehow passed!

I think you did very good job of describing the main provisions succinctly. I'll start following this often.

Barbara Saunders, SB Media Services, Houston

November 12, 2008 at 7:00 PM  

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