U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act, bipartisan legislation that would modernize our nation’s energy policies for the 21st century. It has been nearly a decade since the last substantive energy bill was debated in the Senate, so this legislation provides a unique opportunity to enact meaningful changes that will enhance America’s national and economic security. Thune introduced several amendments to S. 2012, which he also discussed.
“President Obama might like to think that the United States can rely on a few boutique renewable energies, but the truth is, our nation is simply not there yet,” said Thune. “And efforts to impede other, more traditional and reliable types of energy production simply punish American families, who then face soaring energy prices and fewer jobs in the energy sector. Robust domestic energy production coupled with common-sense energy efficiency measures will create jobs, enhance the reliability of our energy supply, spur economic development, and keep energy costs low.”
Summaries of Thune’s amendments are below:
- Ozone: Prohibit the Obama Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from implementing a lower ground-level ozone standard until after 85 percent of the counties currently in non-attainment achieve compliance with the previous 75 ppb standard. This amendment, which is similar to Thune’s bipartisan CASE Act, would also require the EPA to only use direct air monitoring to determine non-attainment areas.
- Expedited wind permitting: Create an Interagency Rapid Response Team for Wind Permitting to expedite and improve the permitting process from the U.S. Departments of Energy, Interior, Defense, Agriculture, and Commerce, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), EPA, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Federal Aviation Administration, and the Council on Environmental Quality. The team would establish clear timelines for the review of project applicants, federal agencies, states, and Indian tribes involved in the siting and permitting process. FERC would be tasked with providing a unified point of contact for resolving interagency or intra-agency issues or delays with respect to wind permitting.
- Pairing hydrokinetic generation with existing hydro dams: Modify section 3014 of the underlying bill to require DOE to include in its program of research, development, and commercial application of marine and hydrokinetic renewable energy production a program to identify opportunities to pair hydrokinetic generation with existing hydroelectric dam facilities operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.