Policy Watch: U.S. Senate is pushing forward the stalled Energy Reform Package

After being bogged down by funding amendments for Flint, MI and other issues, the “Energy Policy Modernization Act” has been resurrected and is expected to be brought up for a vote before the U.S. Senate today (Tuesday).  This bill represents the first broad legislative attempt to address growing issues for the nation’s energy sector since 2007.   It has generally seen bipartisan support as it has made its way through committees since originally introduced by Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Washington) last year.

Currently at 424 printed pages, there’s a lot of ground covered in this package.  In addition to updating language and definitions around various energy resources, the bill requires that DOE conduct new studies to answer questions about grid reliability, lays out support for workforce training programs (including those for displaced coal workers), and would require DOE to issue final determinations on LNG terminal applications within 45 days (some LNG terminal applications have been pending for more than 4 years).

Hoping to improve the Federal government’s role in spurring innovation, it is also worth noting that the bill attempts to make it easier for small businesses to access the National Labs, and increases the authorizations for the Office of Science in the U.S. Department of Energy, ARPA-E, and the Army Corp of Engineers.

Access a current copy of the bill here.  Read more about the anticipated amendments under consideration for this bill here.

4/20/2016 UPDATE:  Senate has passed this bill, which must now be reconciled with the House version.  Read more

Tri-State Shale Summit brings PA, OH, and WV leadership together around common goal

tristateshalesummitLast week, business executives, government officials, civic leaders and others across Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia gathered together for the first-ever Tri-State Shale Summit.  The driving force behind this summit was a belief that all three states could benefit by working together to increase the attractiveness of their shared shale assets.

Below is a statement released by three economic development organizations that assisted with the planning and execution of the event.

Statement from Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Team NEO and Vision Shared

(PITTSBURGH – Oct. 13, 2015) – “In the truest definition of a summit, top leaders from government, business, academia and foundation philanthropy have come together – setting aside state border boundaries – to move forward as a unified super region eager to make the most of the enormous economic opportunity for downstream manufacturing presented by Marcellus and Utica Shale gas.

The Allegheny Conference on Community Development, Team NEO and Vision Shared, all economic development organizations with a focus on attracting/retaining business investment and job creation, stand together in support of a shared economic development strategy to capture downstream-related business investment, including a potential ethane cracker facility – or multiple cracker investments – to the tri-state region’s benefit.

Together, we will market the Appalachian Basin as the new global petrochemical center and hub for made-in-America manufacturing.

We congratulate Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on the signing, at today’s Tri-State Shale Summit in Morgantown, W.Va., of an unprecedented agreement to enhance regional cooperation and job growth through the continuing development of shale gas in the Appalachian Basin.

This is a critical step toward demonstrating that our tri-state region is ready, willing and able to make downstream-related business investment a win-win for the region and for the firms – large and small – that have operations in this geographic footprint.

Above and below ground, the Appalachian Basin has a more than ample supply of assets to support multiple ethane cracker investments, as well as to support and retain supply chain manufacturers and plastics fabricators. Continued collaboration between Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will maximize the competitive advantage provided by our collective assets and allow us to reinvigorate the economy of America’s industrial heartland, of which the tri-state region is the core.”

View the tri-state Regional Cooperation Agreement here.