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Environmental groups unite to oppose energy bill

Environmental groups unite to oppose energy bill
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Nearly two dozen environmental groups on Wednesday urged senators not to work with the House on an energy policy reform bill this session. 

In a letter to senators, 23 groups said the House-passed bill “undermines the progress our nation needs” on energy policy. They said the Senate should not vote to go to conference with the House so long as policies they oppose are included in the bill. 

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“The House-passed amendment would undoubtedly take our country down the wrong track and contains so many controversial and problematic provisions it is impossible to see how agreement could be found,” wrote the groups, a collection that includes the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the League of Conservation Voters and the Natural Resources Defense Council. 

“Rejecting a conference with the current House offer is essential to protect against harm to our environment.”

After the Senate passed its bipartisan energy bill in April, the House considered it and attached a new handful of conservative policies. Members passed the bill and voted to go to a conference committee with the Senate to hammer out the differences between them. 

The Senate has yet to take the same step, though, with Democrats citing the conservative provisions in the bill. 

Business and energy groups want the Senate to take that step, with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce writing a letter to members last week encouraging them to go to a conference committee. Lawmakers are working on a constricted legislative calendar, meaning they are running out of time to get to find a compromise energy package this year. 

The green groups objected to environmental provisions, energy efficiency measures and renewable power research chapters in the House-passed bill.

“We appreciate your efforts to return to regular order and work across party lines on energy policy,” they wrote to the Senate. “But process isn’t the same as progress.”