On January 27, the Senate began consideration of the Energy Policy Modernization Act(S. 2012). The bill was shepherded through the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) in late July. It contains a host of energy measures including efficiency, infrastructure, supply and accountability as well as conservation – but controversial topics were avoided in the bill. Some of these were taken up in the year-end omnibus package, including extension of renewable tax credits and repeal of the oil export ban. Since Wednesday, legislators have also opened the floodgates on amendments.
Senators Murkowski and Cantwell asked their colleagues to avoid bogging down the bill with superfluous amendments, with Cantwell remarking, “Let’s show the Senate can work. Let’s not go crazy with a bunch of ancillary things,” but the request may have fallen on deaf ears. As of Thursday 180 amendments had been offered, with 11 of them passing. Of the 11 passed amendments, they are mostly of non-controversial measures, including ones related to studying the effects of crude oil exports, defining smart manufacturing, incentivizing geothermal energy and carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) investments.