Energy and Climate Report provides current, thorough coverage of clean energy, efficiency, and climate change legislation, regulation, policy, legal developments, and trends in the U.S. and...
By Ari Natter
July 30 — Broad energy legislation that would expedite the federal approval process for liquefied natural gas exports, among other things, was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee July 30, but the path forward remains unknown.
The committee approved the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 by a vote of 18-4, concluding a three-day markup.
The bill, which was drafted by Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the committee’s chairman and ranking member, includes provisions that range from boosting cyber security protections for the electricity grid to measures designed to increase energy efficiency.
If enacted, the legislation would be the first broad energy law since 2007. Committee passage of the bill clears the way for it to be brought to the Senate floor.
There is no commitment on a date to bring the bill to the full Senate. Murkowski told reporters the bill will need two things for successful floor action: a commitment from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) for a sufficient amount of floor time and a fair amendment process.
The bill was shepherded through the committee without overly controversial elements and will be guided on the Senate floor with the same hope, to keep “poison pills” out of the legislation, Murkowski said.
During committee action, Murkowski and Cantwell talked fellow senators into refraining from filing many difficult amendments, and in other cases they convinced senators to withdraw troublesome amendments. In all, 94 amendments were filed in the committee.
Murkowski and Cantwell both acknowledged, however, that important and difficult issues could be raised on the floor.
Many Democrats view tax credits for such things as renewable energy as important, Cantwell said. “I think it's safe to say that you'll hear a lot about that” from Democrats, she said.
During the July 30 markup, the committee adopted an amendment by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) that would expedite the federal process for approving natural gas pipelines.
The measure would require the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve or deny an application within one year of receiving a complete application that is ready to be processed. The agency then responsible must make a decision to approve or deny a project within 90 days of FERC's review.
The amendment, which was part of a larger package of amendments adopted by voice vote, encompasses legislation (S. 1210) previously introduced by Capito and supported by natural gas producers such as Chesapeake Energy Corp. and Apache Corp.
In addition, the committee voted to approve energy efficiency legislation (S. 720) by a 20-2 vote.
The bill from Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) would authorize funding for measures to increase energy conservation in federal data centers, establish voluntary national model building codes and boost energy efficiency in the manufacturing and commercial sectors, among other things.
While most of the provisions in the Portman-Shaheen legislation were included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, the committee moved forward with the stand-alone efficiency bill at the behest of Portman, who wants a backup plan if the broader energy legislation stalls, Kateri Callahan, president of the nonprofit Alliance to Save Energy, told Bloomberg BNA.
Previous versions of the bill, which is backed by companies such as Dow Chemical Co. and National Grid, an international electricity and gas company based in the U.K. and northeastern U.S., have been brought to the Senate floor in the past but have stalled amid fights over amendments.
With assistance from Alan Kovski in Washington
To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at firstname.lastname@example.org
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)