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Senate rejects House energy bill

Republicans objected to the bill's requirement that 15% of electricity come from renewable sources like wind and solar energy by 2020. Critics said the southeastern U.S. would not be able to replace that much coal-fired electric generation with renewables. Republican opponents also opposed rolling back tax breaks for oil companies, arguing that the breaks for oil exploration would make the U.S. more independent of foreign oil.

Democrats like Senator Tim Johnson of South Dakota, disagreed.

"At the same time oil is hitting the $100 per barrel mark and Americans are paying record prices for gas, there are some in Congress that believe the top five oil companies deserve more tax breaks," he said in a statement. "The energy bill package, which passed the House on Thursday, rolls back misguided tax breaks for some of our nation's largest oil corporations. Rather than move towards energy independence, the minority has filibustered the Energy Bill in the Senate today."

Other Democrats seemed willing to compromise in order to pass a different energy bill that likely will leave out the renewable electricity requirements, A renewable fuel standard is lieklyt to survive. The House bill also had a larger renewable fuel standard, calling for 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel production by 2022. That includes a 15 billion gallon grain ethanol mandate by 2015.

"I do think we can make some changes which would make this bill acceptable," said Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), chairman of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

The Senate Friday failed to come up with 60 votes needed to consider the $21 billion energy bill passed by the House of Representatives Thursday (Read more). The vote was 53 to 42.

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