As time runs out on bipartisan energy bill, senators propose 100% clean energy goal
- The U.S. Congress is set to adjourn next week, but in the waning days of the legislative session, there is still debate on whether a bipartisan energy bill could yet be cobbled together.
- Natural Gas Intelligence reports some senators are irked at reports coming out of House Speaker Paul Ryan's (R-WI) office that indicate there will be no agreement, while other lawmakers believe there is still time.
- Separately, two Democratic Senators this week introduced a resolution calling on the United States to use 100% renewable energy by 2050.
With just a week left in Washington's legislative session, there are stark opinions over whether it remains possible for lawmakers to produce an energy bill this year.
According tp NGI, a Ryan spokesperson said the House and Senate "were not able to come to agreement on various outstanding issues in time for the House to consider a conference report." The two chambers have been working to merge two energy bills with some disparate and controversial parts, some of which have drawn veto threats from President Obama.
But Sen. Lisa Murkowski, (R-Alaska), one of the primary sponsors of the energy bill, issued a statement this week indicating the process is not done and time still remains. She said in a statement that only two issues now separate the House and Senate bills.
“Both of those issues can easily be resolved, in plenty of time before congressional adjournment, if the will exists in the House to work through them in good faith,"Murkowski said. "In fact, on both issues, the Senate has already written and proposed the modifications we know are necessary to reach final agreement, only to receive no substantive response."
The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 would be the first bipartisan energy bill in almost a decade, but the House and Senate versions have been split by controversial provisions. Senators say they have restored several provisions that the House was prepared to drop, including those related to LNG exports, hydropower, natural gas pipelines and the carbon benefits of biomass.
Congress is scheduled to adjourn on Dec. 16.
Separately this week, Democratic Senators Edward J. Markey from Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley from Oregon introduced a resolution calling for the United States to reach 100% clean energy generation by 2050.
“Today’s resolution sends a message loud and clear to our Senate colleagues: It’s time to get serious about our climate efforts with big, bold and rapid moves to accelerate the clean energy economy,” Merkley said in a statement. “Transitioning to clean and renewable energy is not only the right thing to do for clean air and a strong economy, it is what we must do to save our beautiful blue-green planet.”
According to the group, the goal is achievable: they say the United States is projected to add more electric generating capacity from solar and wind than from any other source this year, and more than half of all new electricity capacity added in the world in last year was renewable.
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