Democratic News

Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today announced the committee passed bills to promote geothermal power, authorize a new wastewater treatment plant in Northeast Oregon and fund mitigation efforts in drought-affected areas in Oregon and elsewhere in the West, along with 23 public lands, parks and water bills.

“The bills the committee approved today will speed up clean geothermal energy production on federal land, aid people in Oregon and across the West who face the prospect of prolonged drought this year, and address a number of important public lands issues. It’s my hope the Senate can take these measures up and pass them in short order to keep this progress moving forward.”

The committee has now approved 51 bills since the start of the 113th Congress.

“Senator Murkowski and the rest of my colleagues on this committee deserve an enormous amount of credit for working to make this committee an example of how to get things done in the U.S. Senate,” Wyden said. In this Congress it’s often very hard to thread the needle and get legislation passed, but it sure looks like we’re building a bipartisan, thread-the-needle caucus, to find agreement on passing these bills.

Specifically, the Geothermal Production Expansion Act of 2013, S. 363, would encourage development of geothermal power by making adjacent development rights available at fair market rates to keep the cost of leases manageable. Ranking Member Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Senator James Risch, R-Idaho, cosponsored the legislation. It passed by a voice vote, with Senator Mary Landrieu, D-La., asking to be recorded as “present”.

The committee also approved by voice vote five years of reauthorization for the Reclamation States Emergency Drought Relief Act, S. 659, which expired last year. The bill will give desperately needed help to states across the West and drought mitigation programs run by the Bureau of Reclamation. Four counties in Oregon have been designated drought disaster areas by the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this month.

Finally, the City of Hermiston Water Recycling and Reuse Project, S. 693, would authorize the Bureau of Reclamation to share a small portion of the costs to build a new wastewater treatment plant. The bill was introduced in the last Congress, but did not pass out of committee.

In addition, the committee passed the following bills:

  • S. 27, a bill to clarify authority granted under the Act entitled "An Act to define the exterior boundary of the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation in the State of Utah, and for other purposes"
  • S.59, a bill to designate a Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial at the March Field Air Museum in Riverside, California
  • S. 156, a bill to allow for the harvest of gull eggs by the Huna Tlingit people within Glacier Bay National Park in the State of Alaska with an amendment
  • S. 211, a bill to amend certain definitions contained in the Provo River Project Transfer Act for purposes of clarifying certain property descriptions, and for other purposes
  • S. 225, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study of alternatives for commemorating and interpreting the role of the Buffalo Soldiers in the early years of the National Parks, and for other purposes
  • S. 241, a bill to establish the Rio Grande del Norte National Conservation Area in the State of New Mexico, and for other purposes with a majority staff amendment in the nature of a substitute and a majority staff amendment to the title (passed by a roll call vote of 15 to 7)
  • S. 256, a bill to amend Public Law 93-435 with respect to the Northern Mariana Islands, providing parity with Guam, the Virgin Islands, and American Samoa with a amendment
  • S. 284, a bill to transfer certain facilities, easements, and rights-of-way to Fort Sumner Irrigation District, New Mexico
  • S. 305, a bill to authorize the acquisition of core battlefield land at Champion Hill, Port Gibson, and Raymond for addition to Vicksburg National Military Park with amendments
  • S. 312, a bill to adjust the boundary of the Carson National Forest, New Mexico (Senators Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, John Barrasso, R-Wyo., James Risch, R-Idaho, Mike Lee, R-Utah, Rob Portman, R-Ohio, John Hoeven, R-N.D., Dean Heller, R-Nev., Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., and Tim Scott, R-S.C., asked to recorded as voting no)
  • S. 342, a bill to designate the Pine Forest Range Wilderness area in Humboldt County, Nevada
  • S. 349, a bill to amend the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act to designate a segment of the Beaver, Chipuxet, Queen, Wood, and Pawcatuck Rivers in the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island for study for potential addition to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System, and for other purposes
  • S. 368, a bill to reauthorize the Federal Land Transaction Facilitation Act, and for other purposes with an amendment
  • S. 371, a bill to establish the Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park, to dedicate the Park to John H. Chafee, and for other purposes (Barrasso, Risch, Lee, Flake, Scott and Portman asked to recorded as voting no)
  • S. 447, a bill to provide for the conveyance of certain cemeteries that are located on National Forest System land in Black Hills National Forest, South Dakota
  • S. 476, a bill to amend the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Development Act to extend to the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park Commission with an amendment in the nature of a substitute
  • S. 507, a bill to establish the Manhattan Project National Historical Park in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Hanford, Washington, and for other purposes with amendments (Barrasso, Lee, Heller, Flake, Scott and Portman asked to recorded as voting no)
  • S. 609, a bill to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to convey certain Federal land in San Juan County, New Mexico, and for other purposes with amendments
  • S. 684, a bill to amend the Mni Wiconi Project Act of 1988 to facilitate completion of the Mni Wiconi Rural Water Supply System, and for other purposes with amendments (Risch, Lee and Scott asked to recorded as voting no)
  • S. 736, a bill to establish a maximum amount for special use permit fees applicable to certain cabins on National Forest System land in the State of Alaska with amendments and an amendment to the title
  • S. 757, a bill to provide for the implementation of the multispecies habitat conservation plan for the Virgin River, Nevada, and Lincoln County, Nevada, to extend the authority to purchase certain parcels of public land, and for other purposes
  • S.J. RES. 12, a joint resolution to consent to certain amendments enacted by the legislature of the State of Hawaii to the Hawaiian Homes Commission, Act, 1920
  • H.R. 316, to reinstate and transfer certain hydroelectric licenses and extend the deadline for commencement of construction of certain hydroelectric projects with an amendment in the nature of a substitute