Democratic News

Next energy conference meeting will be Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Rayburn 2123. Agenda for the meeting is 1) Senate consideration of the House offer on CAFE and 2) House consideration of an offer on electricity. The Chairman expects roll call votes. He also said he intends to conduct the meeting under the House's so-called "five-minute rule," in which Conferees will be recognized for five minutes only in support of, or opposition to, specific matters before the conference. Like last week, you can watch on TV if you are in a Capitol office. Tune to Ch. 20 (Senate side) or Ch. 21 (House side). The meeting also will be webcast -- on energy.senate.gov and energycommerce.house.gov. The links will become active at 9:15 a.m. For those keeping score, here's a recap of what's been accomplished, and what's ahead. -- There have been three Conferee meetings to date: June 27, July 25 and Sept. 12. -- Two major issues before the conference have been resolved: pipeline safety provisions and reauthorization of the Price-Anderson nuclear liability act. -- We have substantially resolved numerous issues in 14 other areas covered in the House and Senate bills. These are: energy efficiency; housing energy use; renewable energy; LIHEAP, state energy programs and weatherization; rural and remote energy infrastructure; nuclear energy provisions; energy development on Indian lands; streamlining the process of siting and building the Alaska natural gas pipeline; permanently reauthorizing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve; fuel economy of the Federal vehicle fleet; clean coal provisions; and programs related to personnel and training of the next generation of scientists, engineers and skilled workers to meet the energy needs of the country. -- Ahead are a mix of issues close to resolution, and others that will require more intensive work by Conferees. Issues that are moving toward resolution include: R&D programs and provisions related to alternative-fueled vehicles (non-CAFE and non-ethanol). -- Major issues before the conference that still need to be addressed include: electricity/RPS; CAFE; climate change; ANWR; ethanol/phase-out of MTBE; and taxes. Senator Bingaman believes that the progress we've made so far has been good. He also acknowledges that there is a lot of work yet to be done before this energy conference can conclude.