05/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Senate's Knock-Down, Drag-Out Energy Skirmishes Ramp Up

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee took up the first four components of its pending energy package last week, focusing on job-training programs, efficiency standards for appliances, improvements to industrial efficiency, and protection of water resources. The four separate measures flew through the mark-up process with little discussion. But post-recess, the committee expects to take up more controversial elements of legislation--including oil and gas drilling, nuclear power, coal technologies, grid upgrades, and financing for renewables.

Even the relatively calm session last week offered insight into how messy it could get. During discussion of the non-controversial amendments, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a long-time supporter of nuclear power, redirected the conversation to his concerns about the Obama administration's intention to cut off funding for the nuclear-waste repository at Yucca Mountain.

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