Tax credits only outstanding issue for broad energy bill as Senate and Congress agree to agree ahead of recess

House and Senate lawmakers have approved a broad energy bill which is now almost ready for agreement by the full Congress.

Outstanding issues include the $11 billion tax credits package over 10 years, which includes incentives for oil and gas production, gas distribution and the coal industries, drafted by the Senate Finance Committee and House Ways and Means Committee.

The bill also approves the repeal of the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935, includes mandatory reliability standards for transmission grid operators and provides incentives to upgrade transmission infrastructure.

The plan also provides generous federal subsidies to the oil and gas industries, encourages new nuclear build and encourages renewables such as ethanol and wind.

Controversial plans to provide legal immunity to manufacturers of the petrol additive MTBE have been dropped in order to get an agreement as have plans to increase the renewables portfolio standard that requires utilities to increase their use of renewable energy.

The bill also avoids proposals to open the Alaska National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling.

House and Senate leaders hope to send the legislation to President Bush by the end of the week.