After months of listening sessions, hearings, and negotiations, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., today formally introduced their broad, bipartisan energy bill. Focused on a wide range of national energy opportunities and challenges, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 features five titles reflecting common ground on energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, and land conservation.
The Energy Policy Modernization Act builds on recent technological breakthroughs and promises to bring substantial benefits to American families and businesses while protecting the environment. Its provisions will save energy, expand domestic production, facilitate investment in critical infrastructure, protect the electrical grid, boost energy trade, improve the performance of federal agencies, and reauthorize certain programs that have proven effective.
The end result will be more affordable energy, more abundant energy, and more functional energy systems that will strengthen and sustain our energy nation’s renaissance. The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act will also achieve these goals in a fiscally-responsible manner.
“Our energy renaissance has taken us from a position of energy scarcity to one of energy abundance, but current law rarely reflects that fact. After months of working together, the bipartisan legislation we introduced today marks a critical step toward the modernization of our federal energy policies. By focusing on areas where agreement was possible, we have assembled a robust bill with priorities from many senators that will promote our economic growth, national security, and global competitiveness,” Chairman Murkowski said.
“This energy bill permanently authorizes LWCF and makes critical investments in infrastructure and new technologies. Energy security is a major issue facing our country, just with a new twist. Climate, efficiency and cybersecurity must be addressed, and we need to have a plan in place for energy transmission, distribution and storage. With this energy bill, we are taking another step forward. And we need to keep preserving and investing in our urban outdoor opportunities and recreation economy,” Ranking Member Cantwell said.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee began the year with listening sessions with stakeholders in Washington, DC, and across the nation. The committee went on to hold four legislative hearings on 114 pieces of legislation, and has spent the past several weeks assembling the Energy Policy Modernization Act, which features five titles:
- Efficiency – Energy efficiency provides significant benefits for consumers, the economy, and the environment. The provisions in this title include agreements on everything from longer-term utility energy service contracts to the reauthorization of the weatherization and state energy programs. The efficiency of our homes, buildings, and manufacturing facilities all stand to increase as a result of it.
- Infrastructure – We depend on electrical transmission lines and other infrastructure to transport energy from where it is produced to where it is used. This title will help modernize our electrical grid, enhance cybersecurity safeguards, maintain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, provide a streamlined process for natural gas export projects, and ensure a qualified, well-trained workforce.
- Supply – To provide for an energy supply that is increasingly abundant, affordable, clean, diverse, and secure, this title focuses on the development of renewable energy, traditional resources, and non-fuel minerals alike. The responsible development of American resources – from hydropower and bioenergy to rare earth elements – will provide benefits to our nation for decades to come.
- Accountability – Practical reforms are needed to advance innovation, protect electric reliability, and ensure the proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Among the provisions in this title are the reauthorization of certain energy-related components of the America COMPETES Act, better interagency coordination of energy/water initiatives, and the repeal of numerous provisions within the U.S. Code that are outdated or redundant.
- Conservation – The Committee is also responsible for oversight and stewardship of our public lands. The bipartisan legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund in a way that balances land acquisition with other conservation programs important to states and permanently reauthorizes the Historic Preservation Fund, both set to expire this fall. It also creates a new National Park Maintenance and Revitalization Fund, to address the maintenance backlog at some of our nation’s most treasured public places.
Next week, the committee will hold two business meetings, on July 28 and July 30, at 10 a.m. in its hearing room, Dirksen 366, to markup the Energy Policy Modernization Act.
More information – including the full bill text, a one-pager, and markup information – can be found on the committee’s website.