WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) spoke on the Senate floor today about the need to pass the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, the first comprehensive energy update in eight years.
Video of Senator Capito’s speech and her remarks as prepared for delivery are included below.
Click here or the image above for video of Senator Capito’s speech.
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
“I rise in support of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016.
“This legislation recognizes the critical need to improve our nation’s energy infrastructure and how we use our natural resources.
“I commend Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell for their hard work to get this bill to the floor.
“The open process that they led in the Energy and Natural Resources Committee resulted in a strong bipartisan vote of 18-4 in support of this bill.
“This country needs an updated, comprehensive policy that brings an all-of-the-above approach to the way we utilize energy.
“This is the first major energy legislation to be considered by the Senate since 2007.
“This bill will help make our homes, our cars and our public buildings more energy efficient.
“It will help improve our parks and public lands through reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
“This bill will enhance our ability to fully utilize our vast natural resources, so that we remain energy secure for years to come.
“There are few people who know our energy potential better than the people of West Virginia.
“West Virginia’s Marcellus Region has the largest shale gas reserves in the United States.
“Coupled with the nearby Utica Region, these two shale formations have accounted for major increases in natural gas production since 2012.
“West Virginia’s natural gas production nearly quadrupled between 2008 and 2014.
“Unfortunately, despite this unprecedented increase in natural gas recovery, our producers have been underserved by a lack of pipeline capacity.
“Our current permitting process for pipelines can take years. It is slow and uncertain, which means delayed construction, and in turn delayed manufacturing projects and access to affordable energy.
“Last spring, the Charleston Daily Mail editorialized that ‘the big gas boom that has increased employment and tax revenue in West Virginia has slowed considerably less due to slowing markets than a lack of pipeline infrastructure to carry the burgeoning supplies.’
“Early this month, the Clarksburg Exponent Telegram editorialized that ‘the promise of more than 18,000 jobs tied to the construction of six interstate gas pipelines is the last hope for prosperity for a generation of Mountain State residents.’
“The paper continued that regulatory delays are slowing these important projects.
“West Virginia has been hit hard by job loss in the energy sector. Just this week, more than 850 West Virginia coal miners received notice that their jobs may be at risk.
“They join more than 500 other West Virginia miners who were laid off at the beginning of the year. Not to mention the nearly 10,000 who have lost their jobs since 2009.
“Moving forward with improvements to our energy infrastructure will create construction jobs and economic opportunity in my state where both are desperately needed.
“That is why I am pleased this bill includes language I introduced along with Senators Heitkamp and Cassidy that would address the fragmented and prolonged permitting process for pipelines.
“This provision will streamline the application process so pipelines can be constructed in a more timely and efficient and meet our energy transportation needs.
“The provision establishes the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission as the lead agency for the permitting process, helping to address interagency disputes that lead to project delays.
“We must make use of our natural gas resources to grow our domestic manufacturing.
“We should also use our abundant gas reserves to export liquefied natural gas to our allies.
“A strong export policy will bring jobs and revenue to producing states like West Virginia.
“It will also help with energy security for our allies in Europe and Japan at a time of growing instability around the globe.
“This bill includes Senator Barrasso’s bill to expedite LNG export permitting so that natural gas produced here in America can be sold to our allies around the world.
“Going forward, innovation will be a key component in powering West Virginia’s energy economy.
“In addition to our rich natural gas reserves, West Virginia has been one of the major producers of coal for energy generation in this country for decades.
“My state and our nation have faced an uphill battle in the administration’s war on coal, despite the fact that coal still remains America’s baseload energy source.
“We need a commonsense approach to coal-fired energy generation; one that doesn’t simply try to eliminate it, but instead incorporates it into a modern, innovative energy policy.
“That’s why I co-sponsored language included in this bill with Senators Manchin and Portman that would revitalize the fossil energy program at the Department of Energy.
“This program is crucial to the research and development of new technology that makes fossil energy more efficient and reliable, while at the same time reducing emissions.
“One of the most promising advances in fossil energy technology is carbon capture utilization and storage.
“Not only would this technology ensure that our significant coal reserves are part of our overall energy strategy, but it could also be used for enhanced oil recovery that will further strengthen our energy security.
“A modern energy policy must recognize that coal and natural gas will remain a key part of our nation’s energy portfolio for decades to come.
“By acting now to support infrastructure and innovation, we can support jobs and grow our economy for future generations.
“This bipartisan legislation is critical for all Americans and their families. It means more efficient, affordable and reliable energy for millions of people.
“It makes us energy secure and more competitive with other countries in innovative energy and efficiency technologies.
“That is why I support the passage of this important piece of legislation and urge my colleagues to do the same.
“I yield the floor.”