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