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House GOP Leaders Pledge New Urgency On Energy Legislation

House Republicans hope to quickly bring to the floor a series of bills to implement the President's energy policy, possibly within a couple of months. Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), who has been leading the House GOP in drafting energy legislation, says that he will pursue these bills with a new sense of urgency now that he has dropped emergency legislation on the California power crisis.

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Energy Prices Will Be Top Priority For Lieberman's Governmental Affairs Committee


The new Democratic chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, Sen. Joseph Lieberman (D-CT), says an investigation of high energy prices will be a "top priority" for his committee. Lieberman said June 7 that he plans to hold a hearing this month on natural gas and electricity prices, and another to investigate the policies of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which is responsible for regulating the electricity market.

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Democratic Takeover Will Delay Comprehensive Energy Legislation

The leadership change in the Senate is likely to delay the movement of comprehensive energy policy legislation by several months, with a bill appearing on the floor in late summer at the earliest, congressional sources say. But a few quick-fix measures to the nation's energy crisis are expected to receive immediate attention from Democratic leaders.

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Incoming Democratic Chairmen In Senate Expand Investigation Of Oil Industry

Democrats assuming control of the Senate have wasted no time in jumping on the oil industry over rising gasoline prices, and are looking at possible legislation to minimize market manipulation by the industry. Defenders of the oil industry have said that EPA's cleaner-burning gasoline requirements have contributed to rising prices.

Republican Senate leaders had conducted a review earlier this year which found that the oil industry had engaged in price manipulation, but exonerated refiners of any illegal activity or collusion.

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Sen. Landrieu To Lead Moderate Group On Passing Elements Of Bush Energy Plan


NEW ORLEANS, June 5 -- Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) said she is working to form a bipartisan coalition of members on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to move a middle-of-the-road agenda drawing from the less controversial elements of President Bush's energy strategy.

The junior senator from Louisiana told the Edison Electric Institute's (EEI) annual convention here that she has a proven record of working well with both the outgoing chairman of the committee, Frank Murkowski (R-AK), and the new Democratic chairman, Jeff Bingaman (NM).

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House Energy Chairman Pledges Changes To Clean-Fuel Requirements

NEW ORLEANS, June 4 -- House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman W.J. "Billy" Tauzin (R-LA) says he and other lawmakers are working on a package of bills to increase the supply of gasoline, reducing prices by standardizing federal requirements for cleaner-burning fuels in smog ridden cities.

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White House Meeting Produces Agreement With Environmentalists On Renewable Energy


Environmentalists are claiming to have found common ground with the Bush administration on boosting renewable energy production over the next 20 years. Both sides have agreed to increase renewables to a 20 percent share of total domestic energy production, but the details of how to achieve that goal are expected to be worked out in upcoming meetings.

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White House May Accept Congressional Boosts To Energy Efficiency Spending


A high-ranking Department of Energy official says the Bush administration will offer tacit support for congressional efforts to boost funding for energy efficiency and renewables, despite the president's proposal to cut spending in these areas. With Democrats assuming the reins of power in the Senate, sources anticipate congressional pressure to hike spending in these areas as part of a broader effort to address the nation's energy crisis.

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Gov. Davis Lacks Consensus On Expanded Use of Diesel Generators

Despite intense behind-closed-doors negotiations in California, sources say the Davis administration has failed to forge a consensus on the use of backup diesel power to help ease energy shortages. The dispute over diesel generators was ignited late last month when environmentalists protested what they called an imminent plan by Davis to pay companies to use the dirtier backup power source on a broader scale.

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California Utility Regulators To Endorse Backup Power Despite Air Quality Concerns


California utility regulators are expected to approve a proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric Co. (SDG&E) to pay companies to use backup diesel generators, despite objections by state air regulators over the air quality impacts of the plan. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is expected at its June 7 meeting to endorse a draft ruling on the SDG&E proposal, which is intended to reduce the state's power shortages.

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