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Planet Ark World Environment News US lawmakers may deal on drilling, climate change

Date: 23-Sep-02
Country: USA

As Senate and House negotiators try to finish a broad energy bill before Congress adjourns next month, two of the more contentious issues still to be worked out are whether to allow oil drilling in Alaska's ANWR and implementing a program to reduce global warming emissions from industrial facilities like power plants.

"The Senate very clearly wants to have climate change in the bill. We very clearly on the House side want to see ANWR in (the bill). There may be room for discussion," Rep. Billy Tauzin of Louisiana told reporters.

U.S. President George W. Bush last year withdrew the nation from a global treaty to reduce heat-trapping gas emissions because of concerns such a move would hurt the U.S. economy. Senate Democrats want to spur action through the energy bill.

Tauzin's hint at possible "horsetrading" among lawmakers is an important step to settle major differences between the Senate and House on how to overhaul U.S. energy policy for the first time in a decade.

While the House voted in its energy bill to allow drilling in ANWR, the Senate's energy legislation kept the refuge closed to oil firms.

Separately, the Senate voted to maintain a federal registry that companies would voluntary provide information to on their efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. However, the registry would be mandatory after five years if it accounted for less than 60 percent of all U.S. greenhouse emissions.

The House's energy bill did not include a climate change provision.

"There might be a trade there. We'll look for it," Tauzin said. "Everything is on the table."

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