By Ben Geman - 01/22/13 09:26 PM EST
He suggested that political warfare over the failed, taxpayer-backed solar company Solyndra and climate legislation took its toll.
“I think Senator Bingaman had such a tough hand to play after Solyndra, after cap-and-trade, I think clearly that made advancing major issues a challenge,” said Wyden.
“There has been an election, and what I have been especially struck by ... is the number of senators who have just come up and said ‘we really have got to get going on energy again. It seems like everything has been stalled out,’ ” he said.
His sunny outlook will be put to the test as he wades further into battles over natural-gas export policy.
The three-term Democrat has indicated that he wants Congress to set parameters on the level of natural-gas exports that regulators approve. Wyden fears that allowing a big boost in exports could harm U.S. energy consumers and gas-hungry manufacturers.
The Energy Department is weighing an array of industry applications to export liquefied natural gas from the Pacific Northwest, the Gulf Coast and elsewhere.
“There is an opportunity and this should be an issue that the Senate has an opportunity to take up and we are going to definitely do that,” said Wyden, arguing there’s a “sweet spot” to be found on export levels allowed.
“I am talking with senators on both sides of the aisle and I think there is interest in that,” Wyden said.