Senate's energy bill pleases industry lobby

Energy and other business groups praised the Senate’s national energy policy, which passed yesterday with strong bipartisan support.

The bill, adopted 85-12, includes $14 billion in tax breaks, which are more slanted to energy-efficiency programs and the development of renewable fuels than an $8 billion version passed already by the House.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.), ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said the bill would have been better had it included higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars or mandatory curbs on greenhouse-gas emissions. But he called the measure a good start toward greater energy independence and development of cleaner sources of fuel.

Industry lobbyists were more effusive in their praise. Dan Brouillette, a former chief of staff to the House Energy and Commerce Committee and now vice president for government relations at Ford Motor Co., said the bill’s targeted tax breaks would speed development of advanced fuel-efficient vehicles.

Tom Kuhn, president of the Edison Electric Institute, which represents investor-owned utilities, said regulatory reforms and tax breaks included in the bill would improve the reliability of the power grid.

Jim Snyder