Senate Approves First Amendments To Wide-Ranging Energy Legislation

Date: January 29, 2016

Four Amendments Approved Including Provision To Expedite LNG Exports

The Hill reported that on Thursday the Senate “approved four amendments to an energy overhaul bill, the first of what will likely be several amendment votes while the energy bill is on the floor.” The first approved amendment, from Sens. Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), “would boost research into advanced nuclear reactor technology in the US.” Another amendment from Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) would mandate “a report on the impact of crude oil exports on US consumers, refiners and shippers.” Two additional approved amendments related to manufacturing and carbon capture technology. As of Thursday morning, “senators had offered 89 amendments to the legislation…Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) said.” Murkowski, who co-sponsored the bill, said, “It is the beginning of a series of steps that we will take to modernize our nation’s energy, as well as our mineral policies.” The energy legislation as a whole, The Hill said, “would change a host of policies, including provisions to speed up the export of liquefied natural gas, indefinitely expand a conservation fund, update the electricity grid and reform and update other energy policies.” E&E Publishing said that “despite desire to pass a bill that President Obama will sign,” Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota “said amendments to rescind U.S. EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Clean Water Act jurisdiction rules are likely, with proposals to hand states primacy in regulating fracking and overhauling the permitting process for energy infrastructure projects that cross the United States, Mexican and Canadian borders coming, as well.” In a separate article, The Hill reported that a group of Democrats in the Senate is sponsoring an amendment that seeks “up to $600 million for the federal response to the drinking water crisis in Flint, Mich.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

The swift approval of amendments to the Senate energy bill, which enjoys bipartisan support, is an encouraging sign that Congress aims to move to enact actual change to energy policy this year. Small businesses in the energy sector may benefit from legislation seeking to boost home-grown energy sources, whether from fossil fuels or renewables.

Additional Reading

Fuel Fix (TX) reported on the oil industry’s support for the new energy legislation.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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