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SECRETARY OF ENERGY WATKINS PRAISES SUCCESS OF COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY LEGISLATION TO DATE

 SECRETARY OF ENERGY WATKINS PRAISES SUCCESS
 OF COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY LEGISLATION TO DATE
 WASHINGTON, Feb. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Secretary of Energy James D. Watkins said today that the Senate took significant action during the week towards passage of S. 2166, a comprehensive energy policy package introduced by Sens. Bennett Johnston (D-La.) and Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.) and based on the president's National Energy Strategy (NES).
 Watkins said: "The Department of Energy is pleased with the results of the Senate's deliberations to date. The president has made passage of National Energy Strategy legislation part of his economic growth package. We applaud the Senate's actions on this important domestic initiative."
 Watkins added, "The efforts of Senators Johnston and Wallop to move the package forward have been essential to the success achieved so far."
 The core elements of the legislation remain intact. During floor consideration over the past few days, the Senate approved a measure to streamline licensing procedures for new nuclear power plants and rejected language that sought to gut the nuclear plant licensing provisions by adding additional unnecessary and cumbersome hearing requirements. This action preserves one of the NES's goals of providing a regulatory system that does not preclude future use of nuclear energy. The Senate also rejected an amendment that would have placed onerous requirements on the already distressed refining industry to require capacity set-asides for alternative fuels production. Finally, language that would have required that U.S. emissions of CO2 be stabilized at 1990 levels by the year 2000 was withdrawn due to lack of support, signalling the Senate's views that such decisions should be left to international negotiations and not to legislative maneuvers.
 The Senate will resume consideration of the package during the week of Feb. 18, during which time the Senate is likely to debate a provision to permit oil and gas exploration and development, subject to substantial environmental safeguards, in a discrete portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The department is pleased that the Senate has agreed to allow a vote in this important initiative.
 Based on the progress to date, DOE believes that the package that finally emerges from the Senate will reflect the major goals and initiatives contained in the NES: energy resource diversity, efficiency enhancements, domestic energy resources, environmental responsibility and economic growth and job development. The department is optimistic that remaining amendments that could weaken the package -- such as provisions to oppose or otherwise limit the reform of the Public Utility Holding Company Act (PUHCA), gut the natural gas reforms, seek further changes in the nuclear titles, etc. -- will be defeated or withdrawn. To cement the progress to date, the Department of Energy will be working diligently over the Senate recess to ensure that the policies proposed in the president's NES remain intact in the legislation.
 -0- 2/7/92
 /CONTACT: Phil Keif of the U.S. Department of Energy, 202-586-5806/ CO: U.S. Department of Energy ST: District of Columbia IN: OIL SU: LEG


MH -- DC012 -- 7868 02/07/92 15:16 EST
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Date:Feb 7, 1992
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