Bipartisan Energy Bill Gets Second Chance in Senate

Morning Consult / William F. Shughart II / 4/18/16

In a rapid turn of events, the bipartisan “Energy Policy Modernization Act” went from the legislative dustbin to an upcoming Senate floor vote.  And not a moment too soon considering the unexpectedly rocky road the bill embarked on since it was first introduced.

In February, the Senate took up the bipartisan bill, introduced last summer by Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ranking Member Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), that would modernize our nation’s energy policy for the first time since 2007.

Yet, the bill—on track to pass owing to strong support on both sides of the aisle—was derailed when a small group of senators objected because of an impasse over funding for the Flint, Michigan, water crisis and other separate policy initiatives. Votes on final amendments to the bill were postponed, and the package ultimately stalled, leaving our nation’s energy sector without the comprehensive policy reform it desperately needs.

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LNG exports represent next step to U.S. energy security

The Philadelphia Inquirer | Jeffrey Kupfer | 3/28/16
With all the focus on volatile oil prices, it would not be surprising if most people missed one of the most important energy developments of the year: last month’s first export cargo of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the continental United States.
Dispatched from the Sabine Pass terminal in Louisiana, this LNG shipment – and additional ones to come – not only reinforce America’s role as the leader in global energy production but provide another tool for enhancing our relationships with allies, competing with our rivals, and improving our economic and national security.
This would have been unthinkable a little more than a decade ago. In 2005, the United States imported 30 percent of the energy it used. At that time, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) projected that to satisfy domestic demand, we would need to increase LNG imports 16-fold in 2025 – from 0.4 trillion cubic feet to 6.4 trillion cubic feet. But thanks to technological breakthroughs and private-sector ingenuity, all these forecasts turned out to be way off base. Last year, the United States produced the largest volume of natural gas in its history. Even with record consumption, the United States is now exporting LNG, and EIA’s 2015 Annual Energy Outlook projects that we will be a net energy exporter sometime between 2020 and 2030.
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LNG could help small businesses

My Journal Courier | Raymond Keating2/5/16

While America’s political eye is focused on next week’s New Hampshire primary, this also could mark a big week on Capitol Hill. The U.S. Senate is set to vote on S. 2012, “Energy Policy Modernization Act,” the first comprehensive energy legislation Congress has taken up in just shy of a decade. Indeed, we may finally see some significant changes in how the U.S. approaches certain energy policies.

The fact is much has changed in the U.S. since the last energy bill was passed. Our energy renaissance has drastically changed the energy landscape and left us with policies that no longer meet the growing needs regarding infrastructure, federal agencies, and trade. This bipartisan bill is a historic opportunity for senators on both sides of the aisle to institute energy-related priorities that promote economic growth and global competitiveness.

Amid the over 400-page bill is one key section that could embody this change and have tremendous implications for the U.S. and small businesses. The provision would expedite the review of applications to export U.S. liquefied natural gas, specifically calling on the Secretary of Energy to issue a final decision on any application no later than 45 days after a final review by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

During my time as chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, an organization that works to protect small business and promote entrepreneurship, I have written extensively on this very issue, repeatedly calling for expedited approval of U.S. LNG export applications. Therefore, it is encouraging to see the Senate trying to fix an inefficient system standing in the way of energy projects that are clearly in the public interest, including for the small business community.


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