Bipartisan Energy Group Set to Unveil Proposal

Posted July 30, 2008 at 4:55pm

Members of an elusive House energy working group are finally making themselves known and pledging to unveil bipartisan legislation this week that was intentionally crafted without any input from leadership. Led by Reps. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii) and John Peterson (R-Pa.), the 28-member group announced Wednesday that they will file a comprehensive energy package as soon Thursday, with the hope that the House will consider it in September. The group was borne out of frustration with party leaders and their seeming inability to find common ground on energy legislation aimed at lowering gas prices. Bracing for a possible backlash from environmental groups as well as party leaders, several Members have kept their identities under wraps as the group has been hammering out a final proposal. Democratic members include Reps. Nick Lampson (Texas), Jim Costa (Calif.), Gene Green (Texas) and freshman Rep. Tim Walz (Minn.). Republicans in the group include Reps. Dan Burton (Ind.), Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Rob Bishop (Utah), Robin Hayes (N.C.), Tim Murphy (Pa.), Henry Brown (S.C.) and Thelma Drake (Va.). After meeting for the past few weeks, members of the group reached a final deal on the bill on Tuesday night and have begun collecting signatures for it. At the heart of the proposal is a call for offshore drilling — something opposed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — and the use of its revenues for renewable energy investments. Setting up a potentially interesting showdown among House Democrats in September, both Abercrombie and Costa said they would not support an expected resolution to continue an offshore drilling ban that is set to expire at the end of that month.