Manchin welcomes bipartisan energy bill

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) recently applauded the bipartisan introduction of S. 1460, the Energy and Natural Resources Act of 2017, by Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell.  This comprehensive energy bill builds on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, which passed the Senate with 85 votes.  It updates United States energy policy to address our nation’s energy opportunities and challenges.  Included in the bill are several of Senator Manchin’s legislative priorities including common sense measures to support and develop carbon emission-reducing technologies and advanced coal technologies.  The bill also includes a permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which helps maintain and expand access to West Virginia’s natural treasures like the Gauley River and key battlefield areas around Harpers Ferry.  S. 1460 also requires a mandatory study by the Departments of Commerce and Energy to examine the opportunities associated with the development of a natural gas liquids storage hub in Appalachia – a bill that was also introduced earlier this year as a separate measure with Senator Manchin’s support.

 “It is critical for our country to establish an all-of-the-above energy policy that includes and utilizes our domestic resources in a clean efficient manner and recognizes the fact that coal will play an integral role in producing our electricity for decades to come,” Senator Manchin said. “My measures ensure that we are investing in the necessary research and development to develop advance technologies that will address the preservation of reliable affordable electricity, clean coal production, cost-effective energy practices and carbon emissions reduction. These will help strike a balance between a healthy economy and a clean environment. My measures will support the future of coal, provide good jobs and make our country more energy diverse, effective, and secure for years to come.  I am also thrilled to see that the bill prioritizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund for permanent reauthorization and that, under this measure, sportsmen and sportswomen would have greater access to public lands. ”

 Below is a list of Senator Manchin’s priorities that are included in the bill, as provided by his office in a news release

·Prioritize Clean Coal Research and Development: This amendment would put a premium on a path forward for coal by establishing a comprehensive program dedicated to clean coal technological innovation through research, development, and implementation. The program would work to preserve low-cost electricity, diversify our nation’s energy supply by keeping coal competitive with other low-carbon energy sources, and speed up efforts to develop carbon emission-reducing technologies.

·Authorize Coal Technology Program Budget: This amendment adds $22 million to the already authorized budget for the coal technology program. The additional $22 million would support preliminary engineering leading to large-scale pilot projects with processes resulting in net-negative CO2 emissions from production and consumption of the end products, employing a combination of coal and biomass feedstocks with carbon capture and storage.

·Land and Water Conservation Fund:  Permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  In West Virginia, hunting, fishing and outdoor activities are family traditions that help foster a deep and lasting appreciation for all the outdoors have to offer.  LWCF funding helps protect these traditions and preserve West Virginia’s heritage for generations to come, while ensuring access to public lands for all Americans’ enjoyment.  It is vital that this program is permanently reauthorized.

·Fossil Fuel Phase-out Repeal:  The bill repeals Section 433 of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 which mandated that federal buildings reduce reliance on fossil fuels, with 100 percent reduction by 2030.  This bill updates energy efficiency targets and related policies for federal buildings.