House Republicans Release Energy Framework Vow to Move Bill to Floor Later This Year

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By Ari Natter

Feb. 9 — House Republicans released the outline of a broad energy bill Feb. 9 and vowed to bring the measure to the floor later this year, according to a document released by the Energy and Commerce Committee.

The bill will address the need to “modernize” electricity transmission and natural gas pipelines and “allow the export of energy commodities,” according to a framework document released Feb. 9 by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and other Republicans on the Energy and Commerce Committee.

“Our energy landscape has changed, but our national energy policy has not kept pace,” the document said. “Outdated and inadequate energy policies are preventing us from taking full advantage of America’s energy abundance.”

In addition, the document said the committee would continue efforts to monitor the Environmental Protection Agency's management of the renewable fuel standard, EPA efforts to regulate methane gas emissions and forthcoming regulations governing carbon dioxide emissions from fossil-fuel fired power plants.

Upton, who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) plan to release a series of draft bills “in the coming months” and to work closely with their counterparts in the Senate, where Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is leading efforts of her own to write a comprehensive energy bill. 

Permitting Delays, Energy Efficiency 

In all the House framework document outlined four themes: “modernizing infrastructure, 21st century energy workforce, energy diplomacy for a changing world and efficiency and accountability.”

“America faces different energy challenges today than it did a decade ago,” the document said. “Chief among them is a shortage of modern energy infrastructure to carry abundant new supplies of oil and gas to consumers. These challenges threaten energy reliability and affordability.”

The outline also said the committee plans to address permitting delays for energy projects, including “cross-border pipelines,” and voluntary energy efficiency measures.

The framework builds on an Energy and Commerce policy plan, “an Architecture of Abundance,” outlined in a speech by Upton in July.

Committee Ranking Member Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) and Energy and Power Subcommittee Ranking Member Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) agreed that the country's energy picture is rapidly changing and that infrastructure needs to be updated and modernized.

“We need energy legislation that not only increases energy supplies, but also diversifies them and promotes diversity in the workforce that produces them; one that reduces our dependence on fossil fuels by promoting efficiency and reduced demand; one that protects our environment and climate, while promoting our economic wellbeing; and one that results in benefits, not just for large producers, but also for all Americans,” Pallone and Rush said in a statement.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

The Architecture of Abundance: A Legislative Framework is available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/republicans.energycommerce.house.gov/files/114/Analysis/AoA/20150209AOAFramework.pdf.