Bipartisan comity reigns, but poison pills may be ahead

By Geof Koss and Hannah Hess, E & E News.

The bipartisan spirit underlying the Senate's first foray into broad energy legislation in nearly a decade has endured through the initial days of debate, although stumbling blocks await senators when they return next week to finish the bill.

The chamber worked through a list of relatively noncontroversial amendments yesterday. Senators authorized new research into advanced nuclear reactors and boosted spending levels for the Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy, or ARPA-E (Greenwire, Jan. 28; E&ENews PM, Jan. 28).

Lawmakers approved another batch of amendments by voice vote, which included measures to modernize energy policy for tribal land, expand research into water treatment facilities, reinstate the license for Montana's Gibson Dam project and require a federal study on the feasibility of opening an ethane storage and distribution hub in the Marcellus, Utica and Rogersville shale plays.