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 multititle 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. Congress recently 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 to 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 reduce energy consumption, advance the adoption of new technologies, produce energy savings for businesses and families, and encourage private-sector job creation, creating 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. These provisions could be enhanced with the inclusion of the SAVE Act (Sensible Accounting to Value Energy), which would seek to improve the energy efficiency of homes by providing a voluntary means of financing energy efficient features. Such a provision would benefit the economy, jobs, American manufacturing, and consumers.
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 forwardlooking steps to modernize America’s energy infrastructure.
While the Chamber is disappointed that provisions which recognize the opportunity for states and the federal government to share revenue from offshore energy production were not included in this bill, we are pleased that the Senate has agreed to consider this matter separately. These provisions would provide much-needed funding for states for priorities like infrastructure, public safety, and education.
The Chamber strongly supports S. 2012, the “Energy Policy and Modernization Act of 2015,” and will consider including votes on, or in relation to, this bill in our annual How They Voted scorecard.