Energy and environment bills roll out before recess

Source: Manuel Quiñones, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, April 30, 2018

Senators introduced a flurry of bills related to energy and the environment yesterday ahead of next week’s recess.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) introduced S. 2783, aimed at improving infrastructure resilience to climate change and disasters through natural and nature-based measures.

Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul rolled out two Clean Air Act bills: S. 2760 would exclude energy efficiency or pollution-control projects from the definition of site modification, and S. 2761 would clarify what constitutes a modification of stationary pollution sources. Both bills are meant to allow changes to plants without subjecting them to new regulatory scrutiny.

Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) offered S. 2776 that would reform the 1978 Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, or PURPA.

Backers of PURPA reform say the law that aimed to promote renewable energy technology now spurs higher power prices. Renewable energy advocates counter that proposed reforms would hamstring wind and solar power.

Michigan Republican Rep. Tim Walberg introduced a similar piece of legislation last year in the House (E&E Daily, Dec. 1, 2017).

Other new bills:

  • S. 2777, from Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), which would exempt state and county payments under the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act from automatic spending cuts.
  • S. 2764, from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), would amend the High Seas Driftnet Fishing Moratorium Protection Act to protect the conservation of sharks. Energy and Natural Resources Chairwoman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is a co-sponsor.
  • S. 2778, from Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), which would amend the Endangered Species Act to prevent the listing of nonnative living species.
  • S. 2773, from Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), would improve driftnet fishing management. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) introduced a companion in the House.
  • S. 2776, from Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), which aims to reduce flooding at military installations.
  • S. 2767, from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), would improve federal wildlife and disaster recovery programs.
  • S. 2771, from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), which would provide grants to improve household decentralized water systems for people with low or moderate incomes.
  • S. 2772, also from Booker, would modify provisions of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act relating to household well water.