Domenici also plans
to drop MTBE provision

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) may seek to add a revised energy bill to the transportation reauthorization measure now being debated in the chamber, an aide says.

Marnie Funk, spokesperson for the energy committee says that attaching the energy bill to the transportation bill is "certainly a strategy that we're looking at." She adds that Domenici plans to attach a "leaner" energy measure "to any legislation that has 'legs' this spring, and the highway bill looks to be one of those."

An energy package cleared a House-Senate conference and passed the house last year, but got stuck in the Senate in November. Among the objections to the bill was its size: it had an estimated $23.5 billion in tax breaks and $5.4 billion in direct federal spending plus billions of dollars worth of loan guarantees and other funding.

Domenici hasn't said what the revised energy bill's new price tag will be, but Funk says he does plan to delete a provision that provides liability protection to producers of the gasoline additive MTBE. That provision led some Senators to oppose the measure last year.

The Senate has begun to debate a $318-billion, six-year transportation reauthorization bill, which would succeed the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century.

(Photo courtesy of office of Sen. Pete Domenici)