Energy & Environment

Senators introduce new bipartisan energy bill

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The leading senators overseeing energy policy introduced a new version of their broad energy reform bill Thursday.

The legislation from Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and ranking member Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) has few changes from a bill the upper chamber passed last year.

The bill, dubbed the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, has a wide variety of provisions, centered on energy efficiency, infrastructure and cybersecurity, as well as federal land management and sportsmen’s access.

{mosads}Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) fast-tracked the bill late Wednesday by putting it on the floor calendar.

McConnell would still need to formally bring up the bill with a separate action in order for the Senate to vote on it, an action he has not announced yet. But putting it on the calendar allows it to skip through committee consideration.

“It has now been a full decade since Congress has passed legislation to modernize and reform our nation’s energy and resource policies,” Murkowski said in a statement. “We came very close to achieving that goal last year, and have continued to work with our congressional colleagues and a wide range of stakeholders to write another strong bill,” she said.

“This stands not only as an opening for bipartisan accomplishment, but more importantly, as a significant opportunity to boost our economic growth, improve our infrastructure, enhance our security, and bolster our global competitiveness — results that we all support and should be working toward.”

Cantwell said the legislation “will not only help modernize our energy infrastructure, but secure it from extreme weather, climate change, and serious cyber threats.”

The previous version of the legislation passed the Senate with 85 votes last year.

Senators then established a formal conference committee with the House to come to a final agreement on the legislation. But the negotiations got bogged down, mostly on issues regarding natural resources policies, and did not come to an agreement before the session of Congress ended at the close of the year.

Tags Lisa Murkowski Maria Cantwell Mitch McConnell

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