The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources continued to mark-up comprehensive energy legislation on Tuesday and Thursday, adding a few more sticks to the bundle. Prior to the mark-up, Chairman Bingaman had expressed hope that the Committee would be ready to vote out a final bill, but it was slow going as the Committee dealt with amendments on FERC market regulatory authority and use of Federal eminent domain for transmission siting. And members had other demands on their time, with the Senate taking action on tobacco and other legislation. This means that the Committee will meet again this week (Tuesday at 9:00) and maybe again later. The Committee still has ahead of it amendments dealing with oil and gas production, energy market regulation, renewable energy development on public lands and a range of policy studies. (For observers of Congress, there really is no better lesson in the fundamental institutional differences between the Senate and the House than in the different approaches to legislating on energy policy being taken simultaneously in the two chambers.)
The Energy Committee’s mark-up is beginning to draw fire from some renewable energy and other interests, including the wind industry, highlighting the non-partisan regional splits within the Democratic and Republican parties. This Washington Post story maps the battle lines around both the House and Senate energy bills and offers a taste of what we may expect once the Committee bill reaches the Senate floor.