Most of the national headlines these days revolve around controversial, polarizing pieces of legislation. However, in the world of energy, a significant, bipartisan bill has just been introduced in the U.S. Senate that aims to bolster the country’s energy infrastructure.
On June 29, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Charmain of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, and Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Ranking Member of the committee, introduced the Energy and Natural Resources Act (ENRA) of 2017. According to a committee statement, the ENRA’s main focuses are energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, conservation, federal land management, National Park system management, sportsmen’s issues, water infrastructure, natural hazards and Indian energy.
The bill is the successor to one the Senate passed last year, and it doesn’t include many changes. That bill received 85 votes in the Senate but did not make significant progress in the House of Representatives before the end of the year. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has fast-tracked the new bill, meaning it can be brought to the floor without committee consideration. However, no vote is scheduled at this time.
“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 the committee statement. “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.”
In the same statement, Cantwell focused on the positive effects this legislation could have as the country’s energy infrastructure is exposed to new internal and external threats.
“Our energy infrastructure is under attack, and we need the tools to fix it right now,” Cantwell said. “Our bipartisan legislation will not only help modernize our energy infrastructure, but secure it from extreme weather, climate change, and serious cyber threats. I am looking forward to continuing to refine this legislation through robust debate and then sending it to the president’s desk.”
The bill’s full text can be read at www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?a=files.serve&File_id=6D804DF9-9….