Dorgan’s retirement leaves energy void

Elsewhere, he has been among the loudest voices calling for much tighter federal oversight of energy markets. He alleges that speculation in oil futures markets by Wall Street banks and other traders has led to price increases, including the record prices in the summer of 2008 that hit $147 per barrel.

Dorgan wants stronger regulation by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and other agencies. But while many lawmakers are calling for new position limits and other market controls, here’s something less common about Dorgan: His concern about market abuses has led him to oppose Democratic plans to create a “cap-and-trade” system to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

He fears that a large carbon emissions trading market would be open to manipulation, and favors other methods for curbing greenhouse gases.

But over at Climate Progress, Joe Romm wonders whether Dorgan is more likely to support a Senate climate change bill this year now that he’s unshackled from a reelection campaign.

Dorgan has also clashed with more liberal Democrats by supporting expanded offshore oil-and-gas drilling. Dorgan successfully attached a provision to broad Senate energy legislation that would allow drilling rigs closer to Florida’s shores in the eastern Gulf of Mexico.

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee – which Dorgan sits on – approved the bill in June but the full Senate has not yet considered it. 

Update: It remains unclear who will chair the Energy and Water Development Subcommittee that oversees Energy Department spending once Dorgan departs. Here are the other members of the panel: Robert Byrd (W.Va.), Patty Murray (Wash.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.), Tim Johnson (S.D.), Mary Landrieu (La.), Jack Reed (R.I.), Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), Tom Harkin (Iowa) and Jon Tester (Mont.).