WASHINGTON, D.C. — Both U.S. senators Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito are applauding a comprehensive energy bill passed by the Senate Wednesday.
The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 had bipartisan support.
“It is critical for our country to establish an all-of-the-above energy portfolio that includes all of our domestic resources and to face the fact that coal will play an integral role in producing our electricity for decades to come,” Manchin said in a news release. “My measures ensure that we are investing in the necessary research development and advanced technologies to address the preservation of low cost electricity, clean coal production, cost effective energy practices and carbon emissions reduction.”
Capito, during an appearance Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline”, said the bill includes provisions for natural gas pipeline construction, a study for ethane storage and some energy conservation measures.
“It’s all of the above, it’s bipartisan and it’s been worked really hard,” Capito said, also calling the bill a “commonsense energy package.”
Other highlights of the bill provided by the senators’ offices:
Designate Clean Coal Technologies as an Official DOE Fossil Energy Priority: Included in the base bill, this provision would amend the Energy Policy Act and list carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS) as a specific objective for DOE and the Office of Fossil Energy. This measure would work to maintain clean coal technologies as a clear part of the nation’s energy mix and lower the cost of reducing carbon emissions.
Use Pre-Authorized Funding for Clean Coal Innovation: Included in the base bill, this provision would require the DOE to study the effectiveness of recommended changes to the agency’s loan program, which authorized $8 billion in 2008, but has yet to use the funds for carbon and cost reducing fossil energy projects.
Prioritize Clean Coal Research and Development: This amendment would put a premium on a path forward for coal by establishing a comprehensive program dedicated to clean coal technological innovation through research, development, and implementation. The program would work to preserve low-cost electricity, diversify our nation’s energy supply by keeping coal competitive with other low-carbon energy sources, and speed up efforts to develop carbon emission-reducing technologies.
Authorize Coal Technology Program Budget: This amendment adds $22 million to the already authorized budget for the coal technology program. The additional $22 million would support preliminary engineering leading to large-scale pilot projects with processes resulting in net-negative CO2 emissions from production and consumption of the end products, employing a combination of coal and biomass feedstocks with carbon capture and storage.
Oil and Gas Production and Distribution Reform Act
A major component of the Energy Policy Modernization Act, this legislation offered by Senator Capito provides greater certainty around the timeframe for natural gas pipeline approvals. This provision would streamline the application process so pipelines can be constructed quickly and meet our energy transportation needs. It would also establish the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as the lead agency for the permitting process, helping to address interagency disputes that lead to project delays.
Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act
This legislation encourages states to develop additional shooting ranges by making more funds available to state fish and wildlife agencies through the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal aid program that is financed by excise taxes on firearms.
Heitkamp-Capito Amendment #3174: DOE Price Stabilization Contract Report
Calls for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) continued focus and investment in research, development, deployment, and implementation of Carbon Capture Utilization and Storage (CCUS) technologies. The amendment would require DOE to produce a report to congress on the costs and benefits of implementing a price stabilization contract program that would create more certainty and encourage investment in CCUS, technology that would ensure coal remains part of the nation’s energy portfolio.
Capito Amendment #3063: Ethane Study Requirement for Utica, Marcellus and Rogersville Shale
Requires DOE and U.S. Department of Commerce to study the feasibility of establishing an ethane storage and distribution hub in the Utica-Marcellus-Rogersville Shale region. The study will identify locations, economic feasibility and benefits, storage capacity capabilities, infrastructure needs and other markets and trading hubs. It will also include the potential energy security benefits.