WASHINGTON -- The Senate neared completion of a sweeping national energy agenda late yesterday that would promote conservation and environmentally friendly fuels. But senators rejected a last-minute bid to substantially raise automobile fuel economy over the next decade.
The bill, which was essentially completed but awaits a final vote Tuesday, contrasts with one more favorable to oil and gas producers that was approved by the House in April.
If the Senate passes the bill as expected, it will set the stage for difficult, possibly lengthy negotiations with the House later this summer.
''It's going to be a tough conference," said Senator Pete V. Domenici, Republican of New Mexico, who will lead the negotiations with the House.
The Senate bill includes $18 billion in energy tax incentives, more than twice the amount approved by the House. About 40 percent of the tax breaks would go for conservation, renewable energy, and programs promoting alternative motor fuels.