Energy Bill Is Doomed for This Year

Republican Senate leaders threw in the towel on the big energy bill last night, admitting that they couldn’t muster the two additional votes needed to pass the controversial legislative package before Congress takes its holiday recess. The failure to pass the bill this year represents a stinging defeat for President Bush, and a big success for environmentalists and anyone else opposed to $14.5 billion in tax breaks for fossil-fuel industries and increased oil and gas drilling on public lands. GOP leaders will try again next year; to make the bill more palatable to opponents, they may drop a provision that would give makers of the fuel additive MTBE immunity from lawsuits related to water contamination.