Senate’s Bingaman Is ‘Optimistic’ U.S. Energy Bill Will Pass

U.S. Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, a New Mexico Democrat, said he is “reasonably optimistic” an energy bill would pass Congress.

High gasoline prices are helping to push energy to the forefront of policy discussions in Congress, Bingaman said today at an energy conference in Washington sponsored by The New Republic. Companies worried about maintaining U.S. leadership in clean-energy markets are also pushing for a bill, Bingaman said.

“We have a lot of things we are polarized about in Congress these days,” Bingaman said. “This area of energy is one where we ought to be able to develop enough of a consensus to move ahead.”

The energy committee will look to advance bills to overhaul federal regulations in response to last year’s BP Plc’s oil spill, reduce the cost of transportation fuels, increase electricity production from non-polluting sources and boost energy conservation efforts, Bingaman said.

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