U.S. Senator Domenici Says Energy Bill Debate Begins Monday

“Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) today said the energy bill debate will hit the Senate floor Monday for an anticipated two-week debate that could be complete by the Fourth of July recess.”

Why is this important:

As Rod Abrams said in part:

It is summertime in Washington and the leaders of the Senate are engaging. Especially in a seemingly annual exercise of creating a new energy bill for debate.

Yesterday, there was apparently an interesting skirmish between the two senators from New Mexico during the energy bill debate.  Most noteworthy who are both members of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Until control of the Senate passed from the Republican to the Democratic Party in 2006. It was Senator Domenici the committee chairman. However after the fall elections, he passed the gavel to Senator Bingaman. Both of these gentlemen (in every sense of the word) are strong supporters of new energy sources including nuclear power.

However, times do change and Pete Domenici is back in chanrge. So now I am saying Domenici is back. Also Bingaman isn’t happy. So Senator Domenici introduced a competing amendment with a higher standard – 20% instead of 15%. However he changed the definition to include nuclear power, hydroelectricity and energy efficiency. (Note: some of the sources that I found indicated that the Domenici amendment also included “clean” fossil fuel generation that included carbon capture. Can anyone point me to a good source of the actual proposals?)

One of the objections that Senator Bingaman had to the modified proposal was that he claimed that it would lead to business as usual for most utilities since nuclear power already represents 20% of the US electrical power supply. Many large utilities would not have to do anything to meet the goal and the rest could meet the goal by purchasing credits (or merging with nuclear focused utilities)

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