Overnight Energy: Senators look for path forward on energy bill

Source: By Timothy Cama and Devin Henry, The Hill • Posted: Tuesday, February 2, 2016

MORE AMENDMENTS: Senate leadership is working its way through nearly 200 amendments to the chamber’s energy reform bill this week.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), a bill cosponsor and the chairwoman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Monday that members should expect many amendments to hit the floor this week after lawmakers approved 11 last Wednesday and Thursday.

“Eleven is a good number, but honestly I had hoped that we would have been able to process more amendments last week,” she said in a floor speech. “I want to move forward and process even more over these next couple days.”

Senators last week approved amendments related to nuclear energy research, funding for advanced energy and a report on crude oil exports.

Most of the amendments brought to the floor last week won broad bipartisan support, but there are high profile and potentially contentious measures that could still come up now.

Michigan Democrats and others want a major aid package for Flint, Mich., for example, and California’s members are pushing an amendment for a federal response to a methane leak in the state.

Republicans hope the bill can maintain the bipartisan support it enjoyed in committee.

“Let’s keep working to move this process forward. Let’s keep working to pass this bipartisan bill,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Monday.

Read more here.

ANTI-ETHANOL FORCES ALREADY DECLARING VICTORY IN IOWA: A group opposed to the federal ethanol mandate is already claiming victory of sorts in Monday night’s Iowa caucuses.

The group, the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF), ON Monday highlighted polling and negative press against the role of ethanol as an election issue in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

Groups on both sides of the issue have looked to make ethanol a major political issue in Iowa, the top ethanol state in the country. But an ACCF poll last month showed its importance waning among Iowa voters. That conclusion was seemingly backed up in this weekend’s final Des Moines Register poll, which found that Iowa Gov. Terry Brandstad’s opposition to Ted Cruz’s ethanol platform was not a difference-maker for 77 percent of GOP voters there.

“I think a clear message coming out of Iowa is that whatever political influence ethanol used to have in the state, those days are now over,” said ACCF executive vice president George David Banks.