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Return of Senate’s Comprehensive Energy Bill to Move Prior to July 4th Recess; Administration Reviews Clean Power Plan

Legislative Activity

Revival of the Comprehensive Energy Bill

Last week, by unanimous consent, the House Energy and Commerce Committee advanced 11 bills governing energy infrastructure and efficiency. The bills address a range of issues including:  skill preparation for energy-related jobs; improvement to hydroelectric licensing; retrofits for schools; increasing energy and water efficiency for federal facilities and amending monetary thresholds for mergers of FERC-regulated facilities. Several of the issue areas that these bills address were included in the larger comprehensive energy bill that Congress had tried but failed to pass last session.

In the Senate, Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee has begun the effort to revive the bi-partisan comprehensive energy bill. The all-encompassing 800-page bill from the 114th Congress, S. 2012, as engrossed by the Senate, will serve as the base bill. It will also include several of the agreed-upon items from conference (such as the SAVE Act). The Chairman intends have the bill ready to move to the Senate Floor prior to the July 4 recess. 

This Week’s Hearings:

  • On Tuesday, June 13, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing to consider the following agency nominations:

    • Kristine Svinicki to be reappointed as Chairman of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    • Annie Caputo and David Wright to be Members of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission

    • Susan Bodine to be Assistant Administrator of the Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance of EPA

  • On Wednesday, June 14, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy, will hold a hearing titled “States’ Perspectives on Energy Security Planning, Emergency Preparedness, and State Energy Programs.”

  • On Wednesday, June 14, the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Federal Lands, will hold a hearing on the discussion draft on the controversial Sportsmen’s Heritage and Recreational Enhancement Act (SHARE Act). The bill aims to open public lands to hunting, fishing and shooting activities and to prevent new regulations that may limit or block access for those activities.

  • On Wednesday, June 14, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works will hold a hearing to examine the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517). The bill would amend the ethanol waiver for Reid vapor pressure limitations under the Clean Air Act.

  • On Wednesday, June 14, the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Energy and Water, will hold a hearing on the National Nuclear Security Administration’s FY 2018 budget.

  • On Wednesday, June 14, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water and Power, will hold a hearing to discuss several pieces of legislation including:

    • S. 677, the Water Supply Permitting Coordination Act;

    • S. 685, the Clean Water for Rural Communities;

    • S. 930, the Western Area Power Administration Transparency Act;

    • S. 1029, to amend the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 to exempt certain small hydroelectric power projects that are applying for relicensing under the Federal Power Act from the licensing requirements of the Act; and

    • S. 1030, to require FERC to submit to Congress a report on certain hydropower projects.

  • On Thursday, June 15, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing to “examine the President’s budget request for the U.S. Forest Service for Fiscal Year 2018.”

  • On Thursday, June 15, the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Federal Lands, will hold a hearing on the discussion draft of the Resilient Federal Forests Act of 2017. The bill intends to expedite forest management activities on National Forest System lands, on public lands under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Land Management, and on Tribal lands in effort to return resilience to overgrown, fire-prone forested lands.

  • On Thursday, June 15, the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Interior and Environment, will hold a hearing on the Environmental Protection Agency’s FY 2018 budget. The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, and the Senior Advisor to the Administrator, Holly Greaves, will testify.

  • On Thursday, June 15, the Senate Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources, will hold a hearing on the Forest Service’s FY 2018 budget.

Regulatory Activity

Clean Power Plan

Last Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent its proposed review of the Clean Power Plan (CPP) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. While the notice did not include details, the proposal is anticipated to seek the repeal of the CPP. This follows EPA Administrator Pruitt’s statements last month that he has not decided whether to craft new rules in addition to repealing the CPP. OMB is anticipated to spend the next few months reviewing the proposal before it is publicly released.

WOTUS

On Thursday, June 29, the EPA’s Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee (SCAS) and Local Government Advisory Committee (LGAC) will meet to discuss and formulate recommendations on revising the definition of ‘‘Waters of the U.S.’’ (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act, as well as other environmental issues effecting small communities and local governments. This follows EPA’s letter to state governors last month soliciting comments as to how the agency should rewrite WOTUS in response to President Trump’s February 28 executive order directing the agencies to revise the contested Obama Administration rule. The meetings are open to all interested parties who would like to participate. More information on how to submit comments can be found here

© Copyright 2017 Squire Patton Boggs (US) LLP

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About this Author

Sarah Vilms, Public Policy Adviser, Squire Patton Boggs Law Firm
Public Policy Advisor

Sarah Vilms provides legislative strategy and congressional advocacy on behalf of clients, including corporations, municipal governments and nonprofits. Her experience includes more than 20 years in environment and natural resources, education, health care, transportation, voting and sporting issues, among other areas. Ms. Vilms presents matters on behalf of clients before Congress, the White House and federal agencies. 

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Mallory A. Richardson, Public Policy Specialist, Squire Patton Boggs, Law Firm
Public Policy Specialist

Mallory Richardson is a member of the firm’s Transportation, Infrastructure & Local Government and Public Policy Practices. Prior to becoming a public policy specialist, Mallory was selected through a competitive process to participate in the firm’s public policy internship program. In this position, Mallory assisted attorneys and senior policy professionals on legislative and regulatory research, hearing and event coverage, and produced reports focusing on issues including energy, transportation, education and local municipalities. In addition, she proactively worked with the firm’s Energy and Natural Resources Public Policy Practice on strategy development and implementation, and engaged with Executive and Legislative Branch officials through meetings, hearings and events.

202-457-6149