Democratic News

Washington, D.C. – Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden, D-Ore., today announced the committee favorably reported five bills that would encourage the growth of hydropower and spur energy efficiency in homes and buildings.

“Every time you pass bills like this, you put points on the board in the fight against climate change, and you do it in a bipartisan way,” Wyden said. “Hydropower has really become the gold standard for collaboration in energy and making homes and buildings more efficient is one of the cheapest ways to save energy. To anybody who calls this ‘low-hanging fruit,’ I’d say, to me, it looks pretty ripe for a gridlocked Congress. “

The bills are the first energy-related legislation passed by the committee this Congress. Four of the bills would streamline federal approval of hydropower facilities. The fifth bill passed by the committee is the Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act (S. 761), sponsored by Senators Jean Shaheen, D-N.H., and Rob Portman, R-Ohio. The legislation, which the senators introduced in the previous Congress, would encourage energy efficiency and job growth by strengthening national model building codes, creating a Commercial Building Energy Efficiency Financing Initiative to encourage private investment in building efficiency upgrades, allowing federal agencies to take advantage of existing funding to use the most current building efficiency standards for new federal buildings and creating incentives for manufacturers to save energy by using more efficient electric motors and transformers.

The committee passed the following bills by voice vote:

  • S. 306, a bill to authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydropower development under Federal Reclamation law, and for other purposes, with an amendment offered by Senator Mark Udall, D-Colo.
  • S. 545, a bill to improve hydropower, and for other purposes, with an amendment agreed to by both staffs
  • S. 761, a bill to promote energy savings in residential and commercial buildings and industry, and for other purposes, with a manager’s amendment of a perfecting nature
  • H.R. 267, a bill to improve hydropower, and for other purposes
  • H.R. 678, a bill to authorize all Bureau of Reclamation conduit facilities for hydropower development under Federal Reclamation law, and for other purposes

Senators Mike Lee, R-Utah, Tim Scott, R-S.C., and Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., asked to be recorded as voting against S. 761. The bills are now eligible for the full Senate’s consideration.

The amendments are attached below.