A key energy bill that would tighten environmental regulations for new energy projects likely will face a slew of objections and amendments when the House Natural Resources Committee marks it up Wednesday.
The panel is preparing the bill (HR 2337), sponsored by Chairman Nick J. Rahall II, D-W.Va., to become part of an energy package requested by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., by July 4.
But Rahall’s bill got off to an inauspicious start at a hearing last month: Republicans and administration officials excoriated it, charging that its provisions to tighten permitting and regulation for oil and gas drilling and siting power lines on federal land would drive up the cost of fuel. But it has also drawn fire from some environmentalists and Democrats for language that would establish strict federal regulations on siting and operating wind farms – provisions that wind power developers and their supporters say would effectively shut down the wind industry, at least for a few years.
Rahall’s spokeswoman, Allyson Groff, said last week that committee staff already were working on the points of greatest contention – especially the wind provisions. The bill as introduced “was a proposal,” she said. “Nothing was set in stone. He wanted to be able to work with the Republicans on this.”
By CQ Staff
4 June 2007
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