By Ben Geman - 03/29/11 07:12 PM EDT
Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) are reviving a bipartisan “gang” of senators they formed in 2008 to craft sweeping energy legislation, Conrad told The Hill.
“We are reconvening the group of 10, Sen. Chambliss and I — we are going to put together a plan to dramatically reduce our dependence on foreign energy, and so we are going back to work,” Conrad said Tuesday in the Capitol, adding that the group plans to meet this week.
The meeting is set for Wednesday afternoon, Senate aides said. The gang's revival could mark a major political shift in what have been sharply partisan disputes over gasoline prices, climate change and other energy matters.
The original energy "Gang of 10" formed in the summer of 2008 and expanded to 20 senators.
They rolled out a broad plan that blended wider offshore drilling with major new investments and incentives around electric vehicles and biofuels, as well as measures to support nuclear power.
The 2008 plan called for raising billions of dollars to support green energy investments by repealing or limiting some oil-and-gas industry tax breaks.
But the effort sputtered and fell apart amid an intense election-season debate over high oil and gasoline prices.
Conrad said the 13 members of the gang who are still in the Senate are all invited to the meeting.
These senators include: John Thune (R-S.D.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ben Nelson (D-Neb.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and others.
Klobuchar and Graham both floated the idea of the gang reconvening in recent weeks.
This post was updated at 3:33 p.m.