Bipartisan bill hopes to renovate U.S. energy policy, facilitate infrastructure updates, protect the grid from attack, modernize SPR, identify “critical mineral supply”, fix national park maintenance backlog
Earlier this week, U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released a proposed energy bill that hopes to modernize energy policy in the United States. The bill, called The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, focuses on improving efficiencies, infrastructure, developing supply, government accountability and conservation.
According to a release from the ENR, the senators hope that the new bill will “save energy, expand domestic supplies, facilitate investment into critical infrastructure, protect the grid, boost energy trade, improve the performance of federal agencies and renew programs that have proven effective.” The end goal of the bill is to provide affordable energy and more functional energy systems throughout the U.S., according to the ENR.
Title I, the efficiencies portion of the bill, focuses on buildings, appliances and manufacturing. Title II, infrastructure, includes improving cybersecurity, an increasing concern as the U.S. pushes for the removal of the crude oil export ban, modernization of the strategic petroleum reserve system, streamlining LNG export applications, electricity and energy storage.
Under Title II of the bill, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would have 45 days to issue a final decision on any application for the authorization to export natural gas following the conclusion of the FERC’s review.
Title III hopes to make regulatory improvements to developing the supply of both renewable energy sources as well as natural resources. For critical resources, the bill’s objective is to identify “critical mineral demand, supply, and other factors to allow informed actions to be taken to avoid supply shortages, mitigate price volatility, and prepare for demand growth and other market shifts.”
Title IV reauthorizes energy-related components of the America COMPETES Act, which is designed to improve interagency coordination of energy/water initiatives. The title also looks to repeal provisions in U.S. Code that “are outdated or redundant.”
The bill’s final title permanently reauthorizes both the Land and Water Conservation Fund as well as the Historic Preservation Fund, both of which are set to expire in the fall. Title V also hopes to create a National Park Maintenance and Revitalization Fund to address the maintenance backlog at national parks.