Jeff Bingaman’s position has long been that our chances for making progress on energy this year depend on Congress’s willingness to move forward on what is most needed in energy policy, and most realistic in terms of passing both houses of Congress. There is no better candidate for such treatment than legislation that addresses urgent needs relating to electricity reliability. Such legislation already has passed the Senate and the House several times -- as a stand-alone bill in 2000 and as part of bigger bills later. Like most matters related to energy, it’s not partisan: it has passed the Senate under the leadership of both parties. So, Bingaman was quick to agree yesterday when his colleague, Sen. Maria Cantwell, asked him to join her in placing a stand-alone electric reliability bill, S.2236, onto the Senate Calendar. Said Sen. Cantwell, "We believe American consumers have waited long enough for Congress to take this simple step -- putting in place mandatory and enforceable reliability standards to govern the operation of the electric transmission grid, the backbone of our nation’s economy … We can no longer allow these crucial reliability provisions to be held hostage to a flawed comprehensive energy bill."
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