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November 13-15, 2005
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December 13-15, 2005
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February 5-8, 200
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February 20-22, 200
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
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June 20-23, 200
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

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Posted on  

December 5, 2001

Senate Democrats to Unveil Energy Bill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats will unveil on Wednesday an energy bill that would require greater use of renewable fuels, more efficient air conditioners and heat pumps, and increased use of corn-based ethanol in gasoline, according to a draft copy of the bill obtained by Reuters.

The legislation is an alternative to the Republican-backed energy bill, which seeks to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling and boost other U.S. traditional energy supplies.

Republicans failed on Monday for the moment to win senate approval of their bill

Democrats want to keep the Alaskan wilderness closed to oil companies and instead focus more on energy conservation and energy efficiency measures.

Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle will introduce the energy bill on Wednesday, according to congressional aides. Daschle, a South Dakota Democrat, plans to have the Senate debate the legislation when lawmakers return from their holiday recess in January.

The legislation would increase the amount of electricity that must be generated from renewable energy sources -- like solar and wind power.

The legislation would also adopt regulations proposed during the Clinton administration to reduce the amount of energy needed to run home air conditioners and heat pumps.

The legislation would also increase the amount of renewable fuel, including ethanol and bio-diesel to be blended into gasoline to two billion gallons per year beginning in 2003 and rising to five billion gallons annually by 2012.

Under the bill, the controversial fuel additive MTBE which has polluted underground water supplies, would be phased out in four years and states would be able to opt out of the federal program that requires gasoline to have a higher oxygen content to burn more cleanly.

Democrats plan to add language to the bill later raising the fuel mileage requirement for cars and light trucks, after the senate commerce committee decides on the new standard.

A draft of the bill circulated earlier among law makers included a provision that would raise the fuel efficiency of automobiles built between 2007 and 2010 to 36 miles per gallon (mpg) and to 27.5 mpg for light trucks.

The current Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards adopted by Congress in the mid-1970s after the Arab oil embargo require passenger cars to get an average 27.5 miles per gallon and light trucks 20.7 mpg.

Other provisions in the bill would:

+ Streamline regulations to re-license hydroelectric dams;

+ Provide up to $10 billion in federal loan guarantees to build pipelines to ship Alaskan natural gas to the lower 48 states;

+ Allow alternative fuel vehicles to use rush-hour lanes normally reserve for cars carrying several passengers; and

+ Increase federal funds to help low income families pay their energy bills.



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