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house Bill H.R. 8

Reforming Energy Regulations and Securing Electrical Infrastructure

Argument in favor

Making energy infrastructure more resilient and efficient, while streamlining regulations will pay long-term dividends for the U.S. economy.

AndrewGVN's Opinion
···
11/24/2015
Our nation needs to depend on green energy, not toxic fossil fuels and other pollutants. We need to cut the military budget, tax the corporations, and move our nation to a modern society with efficient energy measures.
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Loraki's Opinion
···
12/01/2015
YES! I've had it with the Obama Administration's job-killing regulations! There are some things about this bill that worry me, though. I haven't had time to thoroughly "digest" it and figure out what some of the implications are. I know that it involves the State Dept. and the TPP. I hope Congress reads it carefully BEFORE they vote on it. OTOH, Obama has threatened to veto it, so that alone tells me that it's probably a GOOD bill!
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Tim's Opinion
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01/18/2016
The point is to make our energy system more resilient, especially the electrical system. If we were to be hit by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb exploded 20 miles above the earth in the center of United States, it is estimated that 99% of the population will die. That's the real problem for congress to deal with.
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Argument opposed

This bill strips out too many parts of the regulatory process, and does too little to promote the development of clean energy technologies.

addavis's Opinion
···
12/01/2015
This bill doesn't do much to promote renewable energy as a form of energy security and infrastructure improvements. This bill should at the least put together a task force that looks at the impacts of renewables and energy storage for the betterment of the grid.
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Nikki's Opinion
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12/01/2015
Congress is not qualified to do that. They don't even believe in Science and Climate Change. Actually, what do they know?
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Jared's Opinion
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12/01/2015
This isn't a bill designed to protect our energy infrastructure, it is designed to protect the interests of the coal and gas industries. By protecting "key elements" of the grid, they are protecting the interests of existing providers, and by moving the environmental regulations under this bill, they provide the work-around that they have been looking for in order to side-step those burdensome regulations that protect the environment (thus, us) from the current industry providers. This is not designed to secure our energy grid, it is designed to protect interests. Our energy grid as it exists cannot be "shored up" or protected, it has to be rethought. Continued dependence upon any form of fossil fuel is not going to provide us with security or independence, it will simply reduce, on a very minute level, the amount we have to get from outside sources. Moving to renewable energy (as Hawaii and Germany have discovered is possible to do 100% in an immediate fashion, no "transition" using natural gas) is not only the only means of attaining true independence and National Security, but it is the best way to provide jobs, scientific development, and economic stimulus. We can choose to line the pockets of one industry, or we can choose to become a global leader in development, research, and economic power while attaining security and- dare I say- a cleaner environment. I have no faith that politicians will choose to do anything for the good of the country though.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
  • The house Passed December 3rd, 2015
    Roll Call Vote 249 Yea / 174 Nay
      house Committees
      Committee on Education and Labor
      Committee on Energy and Commerce
      Energy
      Committee on Foreign Affairs
      Committee on Oversight and Reform
      Committee on Science, Space, and Technology
    IntroducedSeptember 16th, 2015

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What is House Bill H.R. 8?

This bill seeks to reform a variety of regulatory activities carried out by the Dept. of Energy (DOE) with the goal of promoting energy efficiency, improving the reliability of energy-related infrastructure, and enhancing the security of North America’s energy supply.


Modernizing Infrastructure

Certain types of electric infrastructure would be designated as ‘critical’ for the purposes of enacting emergency measures if the nation’s power grid is disrupted. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would be responsible for maintaining a list of facilities designated as being of critical importance.

Before any rule or regulation issued by a federal agency that impacts electric utilities generating power, FERC would complete a required reliability analysis so as to determine how the change affects:

  • Electric reliability and resource adequacy;

  • The electricity generation portfolio of the U.S.;

  • The operation of wholesale electricity markets;

  • Energy delivery and infrastructure, including electric transmission facilities and natural gas pipeline.

Regional transmission organizations (RTO) and independent system operators (ISO) that operate a capacity market would be required to provide FERC with an analysis of how:

  • The market uses competitive market forces in procuring capacity resources;

  • The structure of such market includes resource-neutral performance criteria that ensure procurement comes from facilities that have certain reliability attributes to ensure operation continues for an extended period of time.

Federal and state agencies would be able to use aerial or remotely gathered data in their application to FERC as long as the data can be verified by a subsequent onsite inspection.

Licensing for hydroelectric power production would flow through FERC, which would be designated as the lead agency for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). FERC would be responsible for identifying and notifying governmental entities at the federal, state, local, and tribal levels that might weigh in on applications.


Energy Security

The Secretaries of Energy and State would be directed to collaborate on establishing a framework for evaluating the security of energy markets for the U.S. and its allies. It would also include criteria to gauge how energy-related policies impact:

  • Consumers and the economy;

  • Energy supply diversity and resiliency;

  • Well-functioning and competitive energy markets;

  • U.S. trade balance;

  • National security objectives.

A North American Energy Security Plan would be developed by the Secretaries of Energy and State, in addition to relevant congressional committees within one year. It would attempt to improve planning and coordination with Canada and Mexico on energy policy issues, in addition to consulting with other governmental or private sector participants.

Also, the Secretaries of Energy and State would support energy diplomacy abroad in order to bolster the energy security of U.S. allies and trading partners. This would entail international forums with both Trans-Pacific and Trans-Atlantic partners and discuss the condition of global energy markets, relevant trade and investment issues, and barriers to more competitive markets.

The process for authorizing the export of liquefied natural gas would include a 30 day deadline for the DOE to complete its required environmental review under NEPA.


Energy Efficiency

Federal agency may buy electric energy generated by municipal solid waste to satisfy renewable energy purchase requirements if the electricity is separately collected from paper that is normally recycled and is processed in a way that segregates recyclable paper and solid waste.

Existing federal building energy efficiency improvement targets would be extended, while a requirement to reduce agencies’ use of fossil fuels by 100 percent for the year 2030 would be repealed.

The process of creating building energy codes would be made more transparent by requiring the DOE to make proposed changes publicly available. Proposals would also be required to go through the standard federal rulemaking process by allowing for a public comment period, while taking into account small business concerns. DOE would also be prohibited for advocating for certain technologies, building materials, or construction practices that have a payback period of 10 years or less.

This bill also includes provisions repealing numerous reports and plans, some which are replaced by new reports and plans required by this legislation. Among the repealed studies include those on methanol, weatherization, coal policy, and reports to Congress and the General Services Administration.

Impact

Energy consumers and utility companies, state and local governments, the DOE, FERC, the Dept. of State, and foreign governments.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 8

$414.00 Million
The CBO estimates that this bill would increase spending by $414 million over the 2016-2025 period, or about $41 million annually.

More Information

In-Depth: Sponsoring Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) emphasized the need for job growth and reliable infrastructure to ensure the U.S. has a secure energy future:

“We have prioritized creating jobs and improving our infrastructure to ensure affordable energy continues to flow to folks in Michigan and across the country. America has the resources to become an energy superpower. All we need are the right 21st century laws to fulfill our promise. We will continue working toward building a bipartisan consensus as our goal remains getting something to the president’s desk that will be signed into law.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee passed this bill by a vote of 32-20. Even though the committee passed it along, and it is expected to pass the House, this bill has a veto threat straight from the president. 


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Flickr user Bilfinger)

AKA

North American Energy Security and Infrastructure Act of 2015

Official Title

To modernize energy infrastructure, build a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce, bolster America's energy security and diplomacy, and promote energy efficiency and government accountability, and for other purposes.

    Our nation needs to depend on green energy, not toxic fossil fuels and other pollutants. We need to cut the military budget, tax the corporations, and move our nation to a modern society with efficient energy measures.
    Like (9)
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    This bill doesn't do much to promote renewable energy as a form of energy security and infrastructure improvements. This bill should at the least put together a task force that looks at the impacts of renewables and energy storage for the betterment of the grid.
    Like (9)
    Follow
    Share
    Congress is not qualified to do that. They don't even believe in Science and Climate Change. Actually, what do they know?
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    This isn't a bill designed to protect our energy infrastructure, it is designed to protect the interests of the coal and gas industries. By protecting "key elements" of the grid, they are protecting the interests of existing providers, and by moving the environmental regulations under this bill, they provide the work-around that they have been looking for in order to side-step those burdensome regulations that protect the environment (thus, us) from the current industry providers. This is not designed to secure our energy grid, it is designed to protect interests. Our energy grid as it exists cannot be "shored up" or protected, it has to be rethought. Continued dependence upon any form of fossil fuel is not going to provide us with security or independence, it will simply reduce, on a very minute level, the amount we have to get from outside sources. Moving to renewable energy (as Hawaii and Germany have discovered is possible to do 100% in an immediate fashion, no "transition" using natural gas) is not only the only means of attaining true independence and National Security, but it is the best way to provide jobs, scientific development, and economic stimulus. We can choose to line the pockets of one industry, or we can choose to become a global leader in development, research, and economic power while attaining security and- dare I say- a cleaner environment. I have no faith that politicians will choose to do anything for the good of the country though.
    Like (6)
    Follow
    Share
    We need to do away with fossil fuel subsidies.
    Like (1)
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    YES! I've had it with the Obama Administration's job-killing regulations! There are some things about this bill that worry me, though. I haven't had time to thoroughly "digest" it and figure out what some of the implications are. I know that it involves the State Dept. and the TPP. I hope Congress reads it carefully BEFORE they vote on it. OTOH, Obama has threatened to veto it, so that alone tells me that it's probably a GOOD bill!
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    The point is to make our energy system more resilient, especially the electrical system. If we were to be hit by an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) bomb exploded 20 miles above the earth in the center of United States, it is estimated that 99% of the population will die. That's the real problem for congress to deal with.
    Like (1)
    Follow
    Share
    Any bill that could make it easier for energy companies to get around environmental regulations should be rejected
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    " ...A requirement to reduce agencies’ use of fossil fuels by 100 percent for the year 2030 would be repealed" This is absolutely absurd that even with most of the leaders in the world are meeting to battle climate change, our legislators would attempt to repeal the requirement to reduce the use of fossil fuels.
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    It's a good start. Thee is much to be done.
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    SECURING THE INFRASTRUCTURE IS KEY TO KEEPING AMERICA SAFE! GET THIS PRESIDENT OUT OF THE WHITE HOUSE AND IT MAY HAPPEN
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    From what I am reading here this bill does not promote the development of renewable energy sources. It strips the regulations that require agencies to reduce their fossil fuel use by 2030 and designates certain parts of our infrastructure, namely coal fired powerplants and natural gaslines as essential, which would shut down all other forms of production in case of an emergency.
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    As long as we focus on increasing clean energy!
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    Yes, but what are the details
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    No brainer
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    This does nothing to promote renewable energy.
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    Cut spending and eliminate programs. Cut taxes
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    That is where we will be hit and you've known this for years. Something some already have been done.
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    Our electrical system is not hardened off, it is our Achilles heel.
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    I think more importantly the whole electrical grid should be insulated from any form of EMP damage whether it be solar or earthly origin. The sheer economic impact of an event would be most unfortunate.
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