This year, or next, legislators will close in on a national energy bill.
Don't get too excited. We've been down this road before.
But be aware, all the same, that after these many years of little or no movement on comprehensive energy legislation, it seems that this year-this moment, this administration-might be just a bit different. Just the fact that there is a conference committee hashing out differences between the House and Senate energy bills makes this session stand out from past years.
Congressional sources told the Fortnightly not to get too worked up as the committee was running up against the Oct. 11 close of session. That was to be expected-insiders always bet against Congress taking action. But one source still expressed some hope that the committee would issue a conference report and beat the deadline. Meanwhile, at press time, the committee had less than a week to sort out disagreements on the Alaskan wildlife refuge, electricity market reforms, and a timetable on boosting ethanol production-not to mention all those "tier 2" R&D issues that our source said had delayed the process.
But whether an energy bill comes this year or next, some agreement already looks promising for several industry flashpoints: