The US Senate Mar. 11 resumed work on a sweeping energy bill with votes expected on tighter motor vehicle fuel efficiency standards and tougher government oversight of energy derivatives.
Hundreds of other amendments could be proposed, but Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) may temporarily pull the energy bill from the floor if debate stalls.
Daschle also has suggested that the bill may still be under construction past the spring recess from Mar. 25 through Apr 5.
While debate over the bill is far from over, it appears the closely divided Senate may seek to avoid truly polarizing issues that have dominated the energy policy debate for decades. Those who favor stronger conservation measures through tighter corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards are likely to fail, lobbyists and lawmakers predicted. Similarly, proposals to lease a portion of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge may not succeed, Senate observers say.
CAFE, RFG eyed
On the fuel efficiency issue, the Senate looked poised to narrowly approve a proposal by Sens. Carl Levin (D-Mich.) and Kit Bond (R-Mo.) that directs the Department of Transportation to issue new CAFE standards for cars and light trucks. The Levin-Bond plan would give DOT 15 months to come up with new fuel standards for light trucks and 24 months for passenger cars. Support for a tougher plan to raise the combined CAFE of cars and sport utility …