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E-M:/ Lawmakers Abandon MTBE Liability Shield to Help Clear Way for Passing Energy Bil



 
WASHINGTON — House and Senate conferees abandoned giving makers of the gasoline additive MTBE liability protection against environmental lawsuits on Sunday, removing the major roadblock to enactment of broad energy legislation.

Senate negotiators rejected a House proposal for an $11.4 billion MTBE cleanup fund that House Republicans had hoped would serve as a compromise and still provide the liability shield to the oil industry.

But Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas, said "the proposal has not been accepted by the Senate" and that he would offer another MTBE proposal on Monday.