TO THE MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE:
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than three million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations, and dedicated to promoting, protecting, and defending America’s free enterprise system, strongly supports S. 2012, the “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015.”
America’s energy landscape has changed dramatically since Congress last passed a multi-title energy bill and it is crucial that federal energy policy reflect these changes in order to maximize and prolong the benefits the recent energy renaissance is producing. This bill takes important steps to address many areas of high priority for American businesses, including natural gas exports, efficiency, and infrastructure.
One of the most important areas to address now is energy trade. Recently, Congress took an important step in lifting the 40 year-old ban on exporting oil. However, the law that governs the export of natural gas is nearly 80 years old and is equally as bad a fit for the current situation the country enjoys, being the world’s largest producer of natural gas. This bill would make more efficient the Department of Energy’s review of applications for a license to export natural gas. Instead of the currently open-ended process, S. 2012 would require the Department of Energy act on such applications within 45 days after environmental analysis has concluded. The application of a reasonable time limit to this review process would ensure that applicants are not forced to endure continued delays, while also maintaining requisite environmental reviews for such applications.
The Chamber also supports the energy efficiency provisions in S. 2012, which would advance the adoption of new technologies, produce energy savings for businesses and families, and encourage private-sector job creation producing a stronger and more durable American economy. These low- to no-cost, no-mandate provisions would advance energy efficiency while preserving the critical role of government oversight and saving American taxpayers money on their energy bills.
Additionally, the Chamber supports provisions in the infrastructure title that would take steps to ensure the infrastructure necessary to produce, distribute, and consume the energy of tomorrow is a focus of today. Specifically, creating a greater focus on energy storage research and improving the efficiency of electric transmission permitting are both necessary and forward-looking steps to modernize America’s energy infrastructure.
The Chamber strongly supports S. 2012, the “Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015,” and will consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.