Dorgan: Energy, climate decisions are a ways off

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"The question of getting the energy bill up or some variation of it, that's for later. No decision has been made, none will be made, at this point, for a while," Dorgan told reporters Thursday.

Dorgan is a member of the Democratic leadership team as chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee. He is also a senior member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

Dorgan has been pressing for floor action on a bill the Energy Committee passed last June. It includes new support for energy efficiency and imposes a national renewable electricity mandate.

That bill also expands oil-and-gas drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. It does not include limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

The so-called energy-only approach Dorgan is pushing faces opposition from environmental groups and lawmakers that want to impose mandatory limits on greenhouse gases.

But Dorgan said Congress should not pass up the chance to pass legislation that boosts support for low-carbon energy sources. The Kerry-Graham-Lieberman plan, he noted, does not yet even exist.

"There is no other bill," he said. "There is nothing in writing about what they are talking about."