U.S. Senate Democrats abandon scaled-back energy bill

August 5, 2010

Despite narrowing the scope of their proposed Energy Bill to home energy efficiency, development of natural gas vehicles, stricter offshore drilling regulations and the removal of the $75 million offshore oil spill liability cap, U.S. Senate Democrats failed to gather the 60 Senate votes necessary to break a Republican filibuster.

Moreover, in recent weeks, several Democrat Senators have expressed concerns about the job implications of subjecting offshore operators to unlimited liability.

Senate Republicans proposed an alternative bill that would raise the cap but keep it short of unlimited liability, and would only apply the raised cap to new leases. Further, it would lift the six month offshore drilling moratorium instituted by President Obama’s administration in May, and would offer coastal States a share of offshore royalties.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) stated that debate for any new Energy Bill would have to resume in mid-September after Congress’s summer recess.

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