- The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee last week advanced 65 bills, including measures focused on efficiency, nuclear and hydro generation, and progressing the Alaska gasline project.
- Many of the measures were included in a broad energy package passed by both the chambers of Congress last year. That bill failed when the House and Senate were unable to reconcile their competing versions.
- The package of bills advanced by the committee includes a bipartisan building efficiency measure. Several Republicans acknowledged they are opposed to those measures but still voted to advance the broader set.
Compared to the sweeping reforms the Trump White House is going after, the Senate committee's workaday efforts will not make the front page. But it is proof legislators are continuing to work on energy policy even as its future is uncertain.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) chair of the Senate energy committee, praised her colleagues for coming together to advance "so many good bills and to report them in a collegial, bipartisan manner."
She said Alaska and other states would benefit from the committee's efforts on sportsmen’s access, advanced nuclear research, energy efficiency, volcano monitoring, hydropower, and federal land exchanges, and more. "I am particularly grateful to my colleagues for agreeing to advance ... a routing fix that will benefit the Alaska gasline project," she said in a statement.
Morning Consult notes a bipartisan building efficiency measure from Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) was also passed, but picked up opposition from a trio of Republicans on the committee (though the three voted in favor of the overall bill package).
The Senate in 2015 passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act, the first bipartisan energy bill in almost a decade. But the efforts stalled the following year, when the House and Senate began considering how to merge their two disparate bills. The Obama administration had threatened a veto on the House version, and by fall of last year time was running out to find common ground.
President Trump has been making good on promises to undo regulations and restrictions on energy production, and so it is not clear what future some of the bills will have. Last month he signed an executive order that begins rolling back climate actions put in place by the Obama administration.