--------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "janson2997" <janson1997@...
Date: Thu, 06 May 2004 07:53:42 -0000
Subject: [fuelcell-energy] Senate Fails to Resurrect Stalled Energy Bill
Senate Fails to Resurrect Stalled Energy Bill
Thu Apr 29, 2004 05:58 PM ET
By Tom Doggett and Charles Abbott
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Senate, in a pair of party-line votes
tinted by election-year politics, refused on Thursday to debate either
reform of U.S. energy policy or a federal mandate to double the use of
The first overhaul of U.S. energy policy in more than a decade stalled
in a Senate filibuster months ago. An Energy Committee spokeswoman
said the bill was still alive despite the latest failure to break the
On votes that followed party lines, the Senate blocked a Democrat-led
proposal to attach the ethanol mandate to an Internet tax bill and a
Republican alternative to paste a slimmed-down energy bill to the
Internet bill. The ethanol language was one of the most popular parts
of the energy bill.
"Energy will be coming up again this spring but in a more appropriate
forum," said Energy Committee spokeswoman Marnie Funk. She declared
the votes were "a double victory" that prevented a splintering of the
energy bill and avoided the complication of merging energy policy with
Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, author of the ethanol amendment,
said Republicans abandoned ethanol. Last year, 68 senators voted for
the requirement for use of 5 billion gallons of ethanol a year in
2012, double current usage.
Ethanol is popular in rural America, including South Dakota where
Daschle is running for re-election. It is seen as a way to boost farm
income and reduce U.S. reliance on oil imports.
With 60 votes needed for victory, senators refused, 41-58, to prevent
a filibuster of the ethanol plan. On a 55-43 vote, they failed to
block a filibuster on the energy bill. There are 51 Republicans, 48
Democrats and one independent in the Senate.
"Both votes today had a lot more to do with politics than with
policy," said an ethanol lobbyist. He said the votes showed strong
support for ethanol and the energy bill if the issue was debated in a
When the Senate began work on Thursday, Majority Leader Bill Frist
said he supported larger ethanol use but as part of an energy bill
that also modernizes the nation's electric grid, backs an Alaskan
natural gas pipeline and promotes renewable energy sources.
"We should not break apart the energy bill and attempt to pass it
piecemeal," said Frist, Tennessee Republican. "We in the United States
need a comprehensive energy policy."
The House of Representatives has passed energy legislation that
differs from what the Senate has proposed.
House Republican leaders demand the energy bill include protection
against product-defect lawsuits for makers of methyl tertiary butyl
ether (MTBE), a fuel additive and rival to ethanol, which is distilled
from corn. Opposition to the MTBE language helped mire the energy bill
in the Senate.
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