Updates from yesterday’s Senate energy-bill debate

Highlights of yesterday’s energy-bill proceedings: The Senate voted to double the amount of ethanol to be added to the nation’s gasoline supply by 2012, from 4 billion to 8 billion gallons. Florida Sens. Mel Martinez (R) and Bill Nelson (D) successfully blocked attempts to end the congressional moratorium on oil and gas drilling near Florida’s tourist-friendly coastline. When Senate Democrats proposed cutting U.S. oil imports by 40 percent within 20 years, Republicans cast them as crazy dreamers who would disrupt the nation’s transportation system. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) “envisioned everybody this summer or next year traveling with their little Segways — two or three piled on each one.” Using less oil, ha ha, what a goofy idea! Meanwhile, financial disclosures required from members of Congress revealed that dozens of senators and reps on both sides of the aisle have investments in energy firms — more than $3 million worth as of the end of 2004.