The U.S. Senate will soon take up its first comprehensive energy bill in eight years and it is important legislation for the energy-intensive agriculture sector. The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act comes at a time of already low oil, gas and natural gas prices, and could add further efficiencies to energy production.
Energy is one of the few bright spots in the agriculture economy right now which is suffering from low commodity prices and weak foreign demand.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the bill “Will help Americans produce more energy. It will help Americans pay less for energy and it will help Americans save energy. That’s what the Energy Policy Modernization Act will do.”
The bill seeks to end outdated programs, help modernize the electric power grid and indefinitely extend the government’s main conservation fund. It also helps speed up the export of liquefied natural gas. But McConnell says there are some things the bill won’t do.
“It won’t raise taxes. It won’t add a dime to the deficit. The broad energy bill is the result of a truly bipartisan process and it shows, which is why it was supported in committee by a vote of 18 to 4.”
The Senate Energy Committee approved various bipartisan amendments in three days of debate but rejected others that lacked wide support.
Controversial amendments may still come back up on the Senate floor where Democrats could try to win recognition of climate change and Republicans may try to make it easier to approve some energy projects.