Wind and Geothermal projects are also being given priority. The Interior Department expects to approve 800 megawatts of wind energy by next year. Specifically, the Interior is looking into the Atlantic Seaboard where political support is strong for renewable power.
The Federal Regulatory Energy Commission (FERC) has progressed in removing barriers to the use of "low carbon" renewable resources and encouraged greater efficiency in the electricity system and the need to put a price on carbon in the market place, Wellinghoff told senators.
But efforts to remove barriers by FERC and "the efforts of other federal and state agencies, while helpful, are not enough to efficiently stem the growing accumulation of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere," he said.
But even though Wellinghoff and his counterparts touted the Kerry-Boxer bill, not all members of Congress are on board.
The committee's top Republican, James Inhofe, R-Okla., argued against the bill, saying it represents "a fundamental difference in a vision for the country."
He also said that the American people wouldn't buy the added expenses.
"This is something the American people can't tolerate and I don't think they will," Inhofe said.
Others complained the process is too hurried.
"Why are we trying to jam down this legislation now?" asked Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio. "Wouldn't it be smarter to take our time and do it right?"