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senate Bill S. 1460

The Senate's Comprehensive Energy and Natural Resource Reform Bill

Argument in favor

This bill is the product of bipartisan cooperation on critical energy and natural resource issues over the course of several years and needs to be passed. A sweeping overhaul of U.S. energy policy to improve the efficiency of the permitting process and ensure federal research programs continue is much needed.

Doug's Opinion
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07/31/2017
"Renewable energy" Mental Healthcare/Welfare care program flexibility rules.
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Yo's Opinion
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07/31/2017
If u complain about oil, turn off your lights and don't use your car
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Shayla's Opinion
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07/31/2017
Low-Carbon Transitioning and Terrorism do not need to compete for first place as a national security threat. They are both important and I want an administration that responds to both.
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Argument opposed

There is a lot wrong with this bill: it empowers the federal government to pick winners and losers in energy markets while catering to the needs of special interests. Worthwhile provisions within this legislation ought to be passed as standalone bills, but as a whole this bill fails to achieve the right mixture of reforms.

Teresa's Opinion
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07/31/2017
Buried in the details are the problematic pieces of this legislation. There is no need to expand hunting in federally protected lands. That's ludicrous. Where is the emphasis on green energy. The rest of the world is leaving us behind. We are looking like cavemen compared to other technologically advanced countries. This earth is the only one we get. Six months of Trump has already done enough damage.
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Zac's Opinion
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07/31/2017
Hell no. I refuse to believe that, in the year 2017, elected officials of the United States of America want to inflate the budget for fossil fuels and begin an attempt to kill renewable energy by defunding programs that promote it. Fight tooth and nail against this. Global warming is, no matter what you may hear about terrorism, by far the most important political issue of our time. Shame on any senator that votes for this bill.
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Alison's Opinion
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07/31/2017
We cannot afford any more reliance on fossil fuels. Job growth AND our environment demand that we make real commitments to clean, renewable energy sources. This bill is a huge step backwards.
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bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The house has not voted
  • The senate has not voted
      senate Committees
      Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
    IntroducedJune 28th, 2017

What is Senate Bill S. 1460?

This bill would broadly reform U.S. energy and natural resource policies as it relates to efficiency, infrastructure, energy supplies, accountability, and land conservation. It would update, create, repeal, and reauthorize numerous programs within the Dept. of Energy (DOE) and the Dept. of the Interior (DOI). It’s broken down into 11 sections that are summarized below:

Efficiency: The Secretary of Energy would continue to support and encourage state, local, and tribal governments in voluntarily adopting new, more energy efficient building codes. Numerous programs related to energy and water efficiency in government buildings would be reauthorized, and several DOE research programs related to improving vehicular fuel efficiency would be authorized — plus programs related to manufacturing those materials and technologies.

Grants would be made available to cover the cost of career skills training for students who receive a certification in energy efficient building techniques. The Energy Secretary would would be required to determine which certification systems for green buildings are the most likely to encourage a comprehensive and environmentally sound approach to green building certification.

The requirement that new federal buildings and federal buildings undergoing major renovations phase out fossil-fuel generated energy consumption by 2030 would be repealed. Federal agencies would be required to reduce their building energy intensity by 2.5 percent per year for fiscal years 2018 through 2027. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would work with each federal agency to develop a strategy for purchasing, using, and maintaining energy-saving information technologies.

Infrastructure: The Energy Secretary would establish a collaborative process to develop electricity grid architecture and a set of future scenarios for the grid to examine the impacts of different combinations of resources to determine whether the creation of additional standards are needed. The secretary would also be directed to conduct a demonstration program for electric grid energy storage to address challenges identified in a 2013 strategic plan.

The development of hybrid micro-grid systems for isolated communities would be promoted by this bill. The DOE could partner with states and local organizations to make state and regional electric distribution plans. A research program would be created to establish two or more National Lab partnerships with institutes of higher education to develop two or more exascale computing systems at DOE.

The Energy Secretary could increase the drawdown of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve up to a limit of $5.05 billion in revenue generated from such sales.

The Energy Secretary would be required to issue a final decision on applications to export natural gas to countries that don’t have free trade agreements with the U.S. within 45 days of required environmental reviews being completed. The DOE would also have to collect and publicly post available data on liquefied natural gas exports.

Supply: Improving the process of converting, using, and storing carbon dioxide produced from the use of fossil fuels would be made a stated goal of research programs at the DOE. A new coal technology program would replace its predecessor, which would be repealed. The new program would allow large-scale pilot and demonstration projects to provide reliable power, conversion efficiencies, carbon capture and storage, emission reduction, and water discharge management.

The Dept. of the Interior (DOI) would be required to conduct a resource assessment that identifies and quantifies critical mineral resources in the U.S. within four years. A series of performance improvements and reporting requirements would be outlined to reduce delays in federal permitting for mines that will produce critical minerals. The DOE would conduct research and development to promote the efficient production, use, and recycling of critical minerals.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) would be designated the lead agency for addressing hydropower permitting backlogs, and existing incentives for hydropower production would be reauthorized for 10 years

Research into the identification, exploration, assessment, and development of methane hydrate as a commercially viable source of energy would be reauthorized. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) would establish a three-year long pilot program aimed at streamlining drilling permits in areas where the federal government owns less than 25 percent of subsurface minerals or own surface area. This pilot program would be carried out in one state..

National goals for the production of geothermal energy and the identification of potential sites on federal lands capable of producing 50,000 megawatts of geothermal power. The Secretary of Energy would be authorized to carry out additional research related to geothermal energy technologies, which would cover the environmental impacts of these technologies. A categorical exclusion to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) could be used to permit geothermal test wells to be drilled as long as the site meets certain acreage and environmental impact requirements and the area is restored within three years.

Federal funding for marine hydrokinetic energy (or wave power) research would be reauthorized, and the definition of hydrokinetic energy would be broadened to mean more than simply electrical energy. Funding would be eligible to go toward demonstration projects, support in-water testing and arrays of technology devices, or to create information clearinghouses.

The DOE would be required to submit a report to Congress that assesses its ability to host privately-funded fusion and fission reactor prototypes at DOE-owned sites.

Accountability: The Secretary of the Interior would be required to establish a program allowing the BLM to enter into a memorandum of understanding with a state to consider the costs and benefits of creating consistent rules governing oil and gas production on federal lands within the state. The DOI would be authorized to enter into cost-sharing agreements with states, local governments, and Indian tribes to utilize a shared inventory system that would be publicly available and provide users with a catalog of infrastructure and geographical information. Any facilities that have significance to national security could be excluded from public disclosure.

DOE loan programs would require that borrowers pay at least 25 percent of the cost of the credit subsidy, and the Secretary of Energy would be directed to provide an estimate of that cost as soon as practicable.

The America COMPETES programs would be reauthorized, as would the Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy (ARPA-E).

Numerous reports that had been previously required by the DOE or DOI to be submitted to Congress would be repealed, as would outdated studies and grant programs.

Conservation: The Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Historic Preservation Fund would be permanently reauthorized. The allocation of funds under the LWCF would be updated to include consideration fishing, hunting, and other recreational purposes along with recreation and conservation programs that are important to states when evaluating federal land acquisitions.

Within one year, the Interior Secretary would be required to establish a conservation incentives landowner education program to give landowners information about federal conservation programs.

Federal Land Management: The Interior Secretary would be authorized to establish a computerized inventory of buildings and real property, which include associated infrastructure collected from surveys, maps, charts, and inventories.

This section of the bill would also authorize several conveyances of federal land in Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, South Dakota, and Arizona. Recipients would include Indian tribes, a school district, a ski resort, a hotel, a national forest, the Black Hills National Cemetery, and the state of Alaska.

Additionally, this section would allow the sale or exchange of small parcels of National Forest System lands that lost their National Forest Character valued at up to $500,000 rather than $150,000. It would also name a mountain in Montana, withdraw national forest land in Washington from being disposed of, create a fish species (steelhead) management area in Oregon, designate a wilderness area in New Mexico, expand the Cherokee National Forest, and maintain facilities for commercial recreation on the Salmon Wild River corridor in Idaho.

National Park System Management: This section would authorize resource studies of the James K. Polk presidential home and Fort Ontario in the state of New York that assess the suitability and feasibility of adding the sites to the National Park System.

It would also adjust the boundaries of numerous national parks (like the John Muir National Historic Site), and rename sites (like Sky Point) within national parks or the park itself. Further, this section would authorize:

  • A pipeline in Denali National Park to be placed at a location further from the highway that proponents believe to be safer.

  • The transfer and introduction of a small number of free-roaming wild horses in North Carolina to a new location to ensure genetic diversity and viability of the wild horse population.

Sportsmen’s Access: This section would declare a national policy requiring federal agencies and departments to facilitate the expansion and enhancement of hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting opportunities on federal lands, consistent with the mission of each department.

The Forest Service (USFS) and DOI would have authority to open or close federal lands to hunting, fishing, and recreational shooting based on public safety. Except in an emergency, before temporarily or permanently closing an area the USFS and DOI would have to consult with state fish and wildlife agencies and give the public an opportunity to comment. Temporary closures would be limited to 180 days and couldn’t be renewed more than three times after the first temporary closure. The secretaries would have to publish a public list of all federal land temporarily or permanently closed under this section that includes acreage, and a survey of total areas closed in each state.

The Secretaries of Interior and Agriculture (which oversees the USFS) would create a priority list identifying federal lands within the jurisdiction or each state and regional office where the public is allowed to hunt, fish, or other recreational activities that don’t have an egress or access. The list would prioritize such lands based on whether resolving the issue of egress and access requires the acquisition of an easement, right-of-way, or fee title from a federal agency, state, local or tribal government, or a private landowner.

Federal land would be allowed to be leased for a shooting range except within certain specified areas. Individuals would be allowed to carry firearms at Army Corps of Engineers water development projects in compliance with state law.

The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would be prohibited from regulating the use of fishing tackle based on lead content through September 30, 2028.

Water Infrastructure: This section would require the Bureau of Reclamation to provide, and update biennially, a report to Congress assessing major repair needs at Reclamation projects, an itemized list of each, cost estimates, and a categorical safety rating.

This section would also authorize, extend the deadline of, or modify several water projects located in Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, and Kansas.

Natural Hazards: Within the U.S. Geological Survey a National Volcano Early Warning and Monitoring System would be established to monitor, warn, and protect from volcanic activity. The USGS would also establish a National Landslide Hazards Reduction Program.

Indian Energy: DOI would be required to consult with each applicable Indian tribe before approving a plan or well-spacing program that affects the energy resources of the tribe or its members. DOI would provide technical assistance to Indian tribes interested in developing plans for electrification; permitting of gas, oil, and renewable facilities; energy efficiency programs; electrical generation; plans for protecting natural, cultural, and other resources; and any other plans that would assist a tribe in developing or using energy resources.

Tribes would be able to use leases or business agreements to construct electric facilities, including those using renewable energy on tribal lands; allow for the pooling, unitization, or communization of the tribe’s energy resources doesn’t require DOI approval if the lease or agreement is for less than 30 years, or 10 years for an oil and gas lease so long as oil and gas is produced in paying quantities.

Impact

Consumers, producers, and suppliers of energy in the U.S, including individuals and businesses; state, local, and tribal governments; the DOE, and the DOI.

Cost of Senate Bill S. 1460

A CBO cost estimate is unavailable.

More Information

In-DepthSponsoring Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced this bill to help Americans “produce more energy, pay less for energy, facilitate needed infrastructure, boost the innovation of new technologies, and protect sportsmen’s access to federal lands — all without raising taxes or adding to the deficit.” Murkowski added:

“It has now been a full decade since Congress has passed legislation to modernize and reform our nation’s energy and resource policies. We came very close to achieving that goal last year, and have continued to work with our congressional colleagues and a wide range of stakeholders to write another strong bill. 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.”

Lead cosponsoring Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) added:

“Our energy infrastructure is under attack and we need the tools to fix it right now. 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.”

This legislation was added directly to the Senate calendar without a committee hearing after its predecessor passed Congress on an 85-12 vote in the Senate and a 241-178 vote in the House.


Media:

Summary by Eric Revell

(Photo Credit: Bureau of Reclamation via Flickr / Creative Commons)

AKA

Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017

Official Title

A bill to provide for the modernization of the energy and natural resources policies of the United States, and for other purposes.

    "Renewable energy" Mental Healthcare/Welfare care program flexibility rules.
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    Buried in the details are the problematic pieces of this legislation. There is no need to expand hunting in federally protected lands. That's ludicrous. Where is the emphasis on green energy. The rest of the world is leaving us behind. We are looking like cavemen compared to other technologically advanced countries. This earth is the only one we get. Six months of Trump has already done enough damage.
    Like (143)
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    Hell no. I refuse to believe that, in the year 2017, elected officials of the United States of America want to inflate the budget for fossil fuels and begin an attempt to kill renewable energy by defunding programs that promote it. Fight tooth and nail against this. Global warming is, no matter what you may hear about terrorism, by far the most important political issue of our time. Shame on any senator that votes for this bill.
    Like (99)
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    We cannot afford any more reliance on fossil fuels. Job growth AND our environment demand that we make real commitments to clean, renewable energy sources. This bill is a huge step backwards.
    Like (78)
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    We need to begin dramatically moving away from fossil fuels and investing in renewable alternatives. If we invest in them right now, they will become available and affordable faster. Put the environment first and listen to science.
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    I don't trust this, especially with Trump and Republicans in control.
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    We need to move away from fossil fuel.
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    Way too much in fossil fuels, too little (almost zero) in science and renewables. What is this for, the 60s?
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    This bill was introduced by Alaskan Senator Murkowski. Senator McConnell plans to push this through quickly for her. He wants Senator Murkowski to vote for the GOP's BCRA "healthcare bill," which will rip healthcare away from millions, including her own state. She is currently holding out on voting for the BCRA, maybe for this "deal," we will see if she then agrees to vote on tearing healthcare away from millions. This bill speeds up approval for liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facilities to ship more fracked gas abroad when GOP talk has always been about making us "Energy Independent." It blatantly excludes renewables we need, like wind and solar. If we want a habitable planet, we must listen to scientists, not politicians and impatient businessmen not thinking about tomorrow. Scientists the world over say we can't keep burning fossil fuels. We need to reduce or end fracking, not increase it and the markets. This bill would lock in dependence on fossil fuels for decades to come, ruining efforts to slow down the worst effects of global warming. The bill would speed approval of exports of liquefied natural gas, give FERC new authority in approving pipelines, and authorize hundreds of millions of dollars to explore for methane hydrates. Adding insult to injury, the "Renewables" section of the bill doesn't even mention solar or wind energy!! With our planet and thus our health in peril, adding the leaks, accidents, and earthquakes this energy increases, we can't afford McConnell to push this bill through to gain a senator's approval to rip healthcare away from her state and the USA.
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    I still don't understand why we haven't moved away from fossil fuels completely. #savetheEarth
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    We need to stop relying on fossil fuel. America has the opportunity to step up and lead the world with solar, wind, and other technologies. We're falling behind as a nation.
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    We do not need to make it "more efficient" for oil companies to get permits in protected lands or for species to be more efficiently exterminated and/or driven from their habitats. The only energy policy that we should chase is the job-growing one of solar and other renewables. Look at our former peers on the world stage--renewables are cost effective, clean, safe, and job creating! This is a retrograde gift to the polluters, drillers, and oil barons.
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    While there are good parts of this bill such as increasing acreage in a National Forest, making efforts with Indian affairs in regard to energy use as well as the exploration of wave energy, rolling back regulations that reduce carbon emission as well as deregulate lead in fishing tackle is ridiculous. I hope Senators Isakson & Perdue will vote no against this proposed bill.
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    This bill does not help the environment in anyway, shape or form. It hurts future generations who will be tasked with the nearly impossible task of fixing our environment when it is too far gone.
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    Let's benchmark up to progressive countries like German and use solar and wind! Coal is filthy and oil drilling damages the earth!
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    We need to invest in renewable energy and get away from fossil fuels - it is the future whether you acknowledge it or not
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    Too much industry input.
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    This bill is filled with hidden pieces of harmful legislation. Please vote against this.
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    This bill will: -Hasten approvals for Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) export facilities in the US. These facilities increase the demand for fracked natural gas for export abroad. More communities will be hurt by natural gas fracking, pipelines, and other facilities as a result, and the devastating impacts of climate change will be exacerbated. -Make the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) the lead agency in authorizing natural gas projects. FERC is infamous for always approving the fossil fuel industry’s proposed pipelines at the expense of local communities and the environment. We need to curtail the power of the commission and replace it with one dedicated to a just transition off fossil fuels, not increase its power. -Increase funds for extraction of fossil fuels in coastal waters, which will increase the risk for repeated incidents like the Deepwater Horizon debacle. We need to put a moratorium on off-shore drilling for all fossil fuels-- including natural gas -- not expand it. -Expedite the process for allowing fracking on federal lands. At the same time, this legislation does absolutely nothing to increase wind or solar power in the US. While the US needs to shift rapidly to clean energy sources, this legislation would hold us hostage to decades of more reliance on fossil fuels and increase the severity of climate change across the nation and planet.
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    This is a bill that doesn't solve our energy problem but rather promotes the selection of energy sources that benefit the pockets of representatives in favor of it. Reject this bill and let's create a plan that promotes more sustainable usage of energy
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    We need to do solar energy wind energy.
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