Senate Democrats May Introduce New Energy Bill This Week

Senate Democrats may introduce an energy bill this week to improve safety on offshore oil-drilling rigs and to convert trucks to run on natural gas. Majority Leader Harry Reid may unveil the bill as early as today, and Democrats would like to pass it next week, Reuters reported.

Democrats last week dropped efforts to include climate change measures in the bill, saying they had no Republican votes for measures such as requiring utilities to generate some of their energy from renewable sources.

The slimmed-down bill would hold BP (BP) accountable for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and try to ensure similar disasters don't occur, Reid said last week. The bill would likely raise the liability cap on the cost of oil spills from $75 million to $10 billion or more. It would also offer incentives for truck owners to convert their vehicles to natural gas, which could cost the government $4.1 billion.

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