Democratic lawmakers also differ over provisions in an energy bill being drafted by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which would open up the eastern Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling and would water down an Obama campaign proposal setting minimum requirements for the use of renewable energy.
The differences over touchstone issues in the bill could jeopardize its chances of passage by the full Senate, where Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. is threatening to filibuster it over the provisions for drilling off the Florida coast. Major environmental organizations are also leaning toward opposing the bill. In addition, executives from companies in the wind turbine business are lobbying hard for stiffer renewable energy requirements, arguing that they would be better off with requirements that have already been enacted by 28 states.
"The current legislation does not create jobs and, more importantly, does not effect the sea change that President Obama sought," said Don Furman, president of the American Wind Energy Association and senior vice president of Iberdrola Renewables. Obama has said that he wants to double the amount of renewable energy use over three years and that he wanted to make renewables 25 percent of U.S. energy sources by 2025.
Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, is trying to craft a bill that would satisfy a majority on his diverse committee, but Josh Dorner, a Sierra Club spokesman, said the bill had already "suffered death by a thousand cuts" and had "ended up in a disturbing place."