18 April 2005 00:01 [Source: ICB Americas]
Three House committees have cleared the way for a floor vote on comprehensive energy legislation that would increase domestic supplies of oil and natural gas and shield the manufacturers of a controversial gasoline additive from some lawsuits.
The Energy and Commerce Committee approved the Re-publican-crafted Energy Policy Act of 2005 by a vote of 39–16 after rebuffing numerous attempts by Democrats to reshape the sweeping measure during three days of debate.
Before going to the House floor, the bill will be combined with a separate measure approved by the Resources Committee that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling and an $8 billion energy tax package approved by the Ways and Means Committee.
Democrats on the energy panel tried to strip two key provisions from the bill that would make it easier to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) and protect manufacturers of the fuel additive methyl tertiary butyl ether from defective product lawsuits.
The committee voted 35–15 to defeat an amendment by Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) that would have kept current law intact by deleting language giving the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission authority over the siting of LNG import terminals.
Markey said the provision would make it likely that LNG facilities will be located in populated areas.
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