Energy Bill with Hoeven Provisions Now Headed for Senate-House Conference Committee
Measures Reduce Regulatory Burden, Empower States and Consumers
WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, a member of the Energy Committee, today announced that the U.S. Senate and House have agreed to go to conference to reconcile their respective versions of the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. The Senate-passed bill includes legislation authored and introduced by the senator to help streamline energy regulations and address common problems faced by energy producers and consumers. Once conferees agree, the measure will need to be voted on in both the Senate and House.
“Our measures are straightforward, commonsense solutions that will benefit both energy consumers and producers,” Hoeven said. “North Dakota alone has 3 million stranded acres where oil development is held up due to delays at BLM. Our legislation will help to streamline and expedite permitting oil and gas projects when they have a minority interest and no surface rights. Similarly, we have measures to improve the energy efficiency of federal buildings by allowing the continued use of efficient fuels like natural gas, which would otherwise be phased out, as well as legislation to reduce the cost to homeowners of updating their furnaces.”
Hoeven successfully included the following provisions in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016:
• Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Spacing Act – The legislation directs BLM to establish a pilot program wherein a federal permit is not required when 25 percent or less of the minerals are owned or held in trust by the federal government and there is no federal surface land. The BLM director shall identify ways to streamline the review and approval of Applications for Permits to Drill (APD). This measure treats the BLM the same as all other minority holders of mineral rights and protects other mineral owners from unfair and unnecessary delays.
• All-of-the-Above Federal Building Energy Act – Improves the energy efficiency of federal buildings by allowing the continued use of efficient fuels like natural gas, which would otherwise be phased out. It removes limits on the kind of energy used and provides much-needed flexibility for new and significantly renovated federal buildings. The bill repeals a section of a 2007 energy bill that mandated federal buildings eliminate use of all fossil fuels by 2030, and it also extends current energy efficiency targets from a 30 percent reduction by 2015 to a 45 percent reduction by 2020.
• Homeowners Furnace Flexibility Act – Allows newly installed gas furnaces to be vented through a chimney, rather than a wall, as required in a new proposed rule by the U.S. Department of Energy. The DOE’s proposed rule would have increased the cost of purchasing a new furnace by $350 and the cost of installing a new furnace by $1,500 to $2,200. This legislation will save homeowners that additional expense and require the Energy Secretary to consult with affected groups to develop a rule that works for everyone, including consumers.
• Non-Profit Energy Efficiency – Introduced by Hoeven and Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), this bill creates a new pilot program at the Department of Energy to provide matching grants up to $200,000 to non-profit organizations to help make buildings they own and operate more energy efficient. It authorizes $50 million in retrofitting grants over the next five years to be offset by existing efficiency programs. Beneficiaries would be schools, hospitals and faith-based organizations.
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