WASHINGTON (AP) -- The last week of September will be showdown time over drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and incentives for an Alaska natural gas pipeline, according to a congressional committee schedule announced Thursday.
The schedule for the House-Senate conference committee negotiating a national energy plan was laid out by Rep. Billy Tauzin, R-La., conference committee chairman.
The two Alaska issues are among the so-called ''Tier 1,'' or most controversial issues, that Tauzin plans to have congressional staffers and conference members tackle by the last full week of September.
Tauzin said he plans to push conferees hard that week to strike a deal on a wide-ranging energy plan.
Conferees agreed Thursday on several measures, including energy efficiency, low-income assistance, and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. They also reached tentative agreement on Indian energy measures.
Energy negotiators will meet next Sept. 9, after the House and Senate return from a monthlong summer recess.
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