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House Expected to Name Energy Bill Conferees This Week

The House is expected to appoint conferees for the upcoming House-Senate conference on the omnibus energy after it returns from its recess on Monday (July 11), according to a Capitol Hill spokesman.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, will chair the conference on the energy measure (HR 6), and hopes that House conferees will be selected in time to convene the first conference session this week, the press aide said.

Senate leaders earlier this month named 14 conferees to the energy bill conference, including 11 members of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and three members of the Senate Finance Committee (see Daily GPI, July 5). Senate conferees last week held informal discussions on the similarities and differences between their energy bill, which was passed in June, and the House measure. The House approved its version of the energy bill in April.

The conferees' job will be to reconcile the widely divergent House and Senate energy measures. Some of the more intractable issues are likely to be the House's provision on product liability protection for producers of the gasoline additive methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), the Senate's mandate for 10% of electric supplies to be sourced from renewable energy by 2020, the Senate's provision on conducting an inventory of the oil and natural gas resources on the federal Outer Continental Shelf, and the differences in the House and Senate language with respect to FERC's jurisdiction over the siting of liquefied natural gas import terminals.

In addition, the Senate bill provides for $16 billion in tax incentives over a 10-year period, mostly for renewable fuels, conservation and energy efficiency, while the House measure provides $8 billion in tax breaks for mostly traditional fossil fuels.

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