Key Vote: Senate Energy Bill Amendments

The Senate is poised to consider broad energy legislation, the first of its kind since 2007. S.2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, seeks to address various facets of energy policy, from efficiency standards to power supply and the electric grid. Overall, this bill fails to shepard in significant energy policy reform and instead increases regulation and spending in an effort to fix perceived problemssimilar to the 2005 and 2007 energy bills. In reality, few energy issues are improved through additional federal regulation and subsidies. Instead, legislation should be focused on limiting the scope of the federal government and promoting American energy prosperity.

Several amendments to this bill are worth highlighting. The American Energy Alliance will key vote these amendments, should they receive a vote on the Senate floor.

YES on Cassidy Amendment Repealing the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS): Sen. Cassidy introduced an amendment that would fully repeal the Renewable Fuel Standard. The RFS was created in the 2005 energy bill and amended by the 2007 energy bill. This costly mandate has hurt American families and businesses for over a decade by driving up fuel prices and requiring expensive, uneconomical, and commercially unavailable “advanced” biofuels to be blended into gasoline by refiners. Sen. Cassidy’s amendment would fully repeal the RFS, thus ending the ethanol and advanced biofuels blending mandates. The American Energy Alliance supports full repeal of the RFS and urges all Senators to vote YES on SA 2977, the Cassidy RFS repeal amendment.

YES on Lee Amendment Blocking Permanent Reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF): Sen. Lee introduced an amendment striking language that would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). The LWCF is funded through offshore drilling fees and royalties, which then go into an account that is used to finance federal land acquisition and management. However, the federal government is a historically poor steward of our nation’s land. From environmental mismanagement to the stifling of natural resources development, the federal government has proven inept as a caretaker of America’s lands. States, not the federal government, should be in charge of maintaining public lands, as states have more local knowledge and are more invested in maintaining the lands in which they live. While the LWCF was extended for three years in the recent Omnibus bill, Sen. Lee’s amendment striking permanent reauthorization of the LWCF is a step toward holding the federal government in check. The American Energy Alliance urges all Senators to vote YES on SA 3022, Sen. Lee’s LWCF amendment.

NO on Reid-King Amendment on Net Metering: Sens. King and Reid introduced an amendment that would increase energy prices for consumers and trample on the abilities of states and localities to best serve their electricity users. Their amendment, which aims to federalize net metering policy, would limit the ability of state electricity regulators to change net metering policies. State regulators already oversee net metering of distributed energy generation, including rooftop solar, and the regulation of electricity rates has always been the prerogative of state and localities, not the federal government. Further, the amendment would force utilities to increase fees for all customers, not just those who opt to participate in net metering services. This would make net metering even more regressive by levying additional fees on non-net metering customers, who tend to have lower incomes than net metering customers. The King-Reid amendment unnecessarily increases the scope of the federal government and would harm American families, especially the poor and middle class who cannot afford expensive solar systems. The American Energy Alliance urges all Senators to vote NO on SA 3120, the King-Reid net metering amendment.

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