21 April 2005 19:37 [Source: ICIS news]
WASHINGTON (CNI)--The House of Representatives was close to a final vote on energy legislation Thursday after rejecting an amendment against oil and gas exploration on part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in northern ?xml:namespace>
The House was scheduled to vote later Thursday on the broad bill, which includes $8.1bn (Euro6.2bn) in tax breaks and incentives over 10 years, mostly for energy producers.
The House has passed similar energy bills several times in recent years, but legislation has failed to clear the Senate.
It also would offer limited liability protection to manufacturers of methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), a gasoline additive that has contaminated drinking water across the country.
The House voted 231-200 to reject an amendment by Representative Edward Markey (Democrat-Massachusetts) which would have deleted the bill's controversial provision to open part of ANWR to exploration and development.
Markey said the refuge is "one of the few places remaining in
House Resources Committee Chairman Richard Pombo (Republican-California) and others said the nation needs ANWR's estimated 6.3bn bbl of oil to reduce energy imports.
“We don’t have to choose between providing the energy resources and protecting the environment,” said Pombo, who argued that oil and gas can be developed through modern drilling techniques that will not harm the environment or wildlife.
The energy bill would give the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission final authority to approve the construction of new liquefied natural gas (LNG) import terminals, and make it easier for companies to restart idled oil refineries or build new ones.
The bill also creates a renewable fuels standard that would require refiners to blend 5bn gallons of ethanol into gasoline by 2012.
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