July 25, 2005


Congressional Negotiators Are Nearing Agreement on Broad Energy Measure (CARL HULSE, 7/25/05, NY Times)

With strong encouragement from the White House, top House and Senate negotiators said Sunday that they were nearing a final agreement on a broad energy bill that would drop a plan to protect producers of the gasoline additive MTBE from lawsuits over water pollution.

The apparent settlement of the MTBE issue moves Congress closer to enacting an energy bill than it has been in years. [...]

The Republicans who lead the House and Senate energy committees, Senator Pete V. Domenici of New Mexico and Representative Joe L. Barton of Texas, told participating lawmakers on Sunday that they hoped to resolve most of the remaining issues by Monday and present a bill to Mr. Bush before Congress adjourns for the summer on Friday. [...]

Congressional approval of an energy measure would end a long stalemate and provide some satisfaction to Mr. Bush, who took over the White House in 2001 discussing his desire to reshape the nation's energy policy. Regional disputes and environmental objections have thwarted the efforts, even after a major blackout hit the Northeast and Midwest in the summer of 2003.

Hoping to spur lawmakers, Mr. Bush talked to the four chief negotiators in a conference call on Sunday, and aides said Vice President Dick Cheney and Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman had also weighed in.

If enacted, the energy bill would set new rules intended to make the nation's electrical supply more reliable; provide billions of dollars in subsidies and tax credits to oil and gas producers, as well as to the wind, solar and geothermal industries; encourage construction of nuclear power plants; and finance research into other energy sources.

Posted by Orrin Judd at July 25, 2005 9:00 AM

While few probably know the whole story, this smells like a trial lawyer victory. Congress forced the addition of these additives (in 1990/91, I believe), and now, when they are proven to be dangerous, everyone wants to sue. Shouldn't the Democratic leadership from back then be held liable? Stupid question, I know, but.....

Posted by: jim hamlen at July 25, 2005 9:23 AM

Why shouldn't the environmental groups that pushed for the additives be sued?

Posted by: Governor Breck at July 25, 2005 9:32 AM