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House passes comprehensive energy bill

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives passed a Republican-backed energy bill [text] late Thursday aimed at increasing domestic production, including provisions that would permit drilling in the Alaska wildlife refuge [JURIST report] and protect the manufacturer of gasoline additive MTBE [EPA backgrounder] from liability for water contamination. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which has received the strong support of the Bush administration [White House statement], would also grant $12 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for energy companies, an amount larger than the president had requested. MTBE production is to be phased out by 2014 under the bill, with $2 billion in assistance to help manufacturers move away from making the additive. The divisive MTBE issue is expected to be a major obstacle to Senate passage of the bill, as was the case in 2003 when the provision was attacked by a Democratic filibuster. AP has more.

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