In order to get legislation to the House-Senate reconciliation conference in time the US Senate has abandoned the intended provisions of its energy legislation and passed a bill that is a version of last year’s bill (HR 4). It is now up to Energy and Natural Resources committee chairman Peter Domenici to ensure that new provisions covering production, energy diversity and research are included for debate in the House-Senate conference.

The measure was resorted to because debate described as ‘rancorous’ in the Senate during discussion of the S14 section of the bill covering, among other things, nuclear energy was threatening to derail the bill altogether.

Before passing the bill the Senate agreed in concept to allow the addition of provisions to be taken to the House-Senate conference. This will include many of the S14 provisions, including financial incentives for new nuclear power plants, that had already been passed by the Senate energy committee.

Domenici said “we will do more for production. We will do more for energy divesity. We will do more for reseach. The final bill will look more like what I produced in committee this spring than it will the bill we are passing [now]. [This] bill is just a vehicle to get to conference”.