“We can’t fully discuss our nation’s energy future without also addressing the President’s moratorium on new federal coal leases and royalty increase attempts for federal coal, oil and natural gas.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senator Steve Daines took to the Senate floor to highlight important provisions contained in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, the first major energy policy legislation debated in the Senate since 2007.
This key legislation will help expand Montana energy production, permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and rein in the Obama administration’s overreaching anti-energy regulations.
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Today, the Senate is voting on their first amendments to the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. The Senate will continue debate on this crucial legislation next week and will consider additional amendments with final passage expected next week.
The broad bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 was approved by the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Daines is a member, by a vote of 18-4. The committee held six legislative hearings on at least 114 bills as it worked to develop a bipartisan energy bill.
Daines’ full remarks as prepared are below:
“The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 is a crucial step forward in modernizing our nation’s energy policy and public lands management for the first time in almost a decade. And we’re doing it in a strong, bipartisan fashion.
“More, we’re taking the necessary steps to secure our nation’s energy future – in turn, increasing economic opportunity and protecting our nation’s security needs.
“Here are a few important components of this bill I’d like to highlight”
“It permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important tool for increasing public access to public lands and one of the country’s best conservation programs
“This bill also streamlines the permitting for the export of liquefied natural gas, allowing more American energy to power the world.
“Montana is the fifth-largest producer of hydropower in the nation and we have 23 hydroelectric dams. This bill strengthens our nation’s hydropower development by streamlining permitting of new projects, finally defining hydropower as renewable resource by statute, and allowing FERC to provide more time to construct new hydroelectric facilities on existing dams.
“It also extends construction licenses for Gibson Dam and Clark Canyon Dam— two projects critical to tax revenue and jobs for communities in Montana.
“This energy bill establishes a pilot project to streamline drilling permits if less than 25 percent of the minerals within the spacing unit are federal minerals. The provision, sponsored by my good friend the senior senator from North Dakota, is of particular importance to Montana given the patchwork of land and mineral ownership in the Bakken.
“It improves federal permitting of critical and strategic mineral production – which supports thousands of good-paying Montana jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue for our state.
“Metal and non-metal mining also has directly created more than 8,500 good-paying Montana jobs. In fact, mining helps support more than 19,000 jobs in total across Montana.
“Metal mining in Montana has contributed $403 million in taxes and non-metal mining contributes $128 million each year. This includes $288 million of state and local taxes.
“And finally, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 modernizes and strengthens the reliability and security of bulk-power in America’s electrical grid.
“In Montana, we know that the important balance of responsibly developing our natural resources and serving as good stewards of our environment. Our energy sector supports thousands of good-paying jobs for union workers and tribal members. And access to our state’s one-of-a-kind public lands is critical to our state’s tourism economy and our way of life.
“This bill facilitates all of these goals.
“Given the overwhelming support this bill received in committee, I’m hopeful that this bill will also receive strong bipartisan support as we work through the amendment process and take a final vote on this bill next week.
“I also look forward to having the opportunity to make this bill even better for our nation.
“This legislation makes important gains for Montana energy, but there is still work to do.
“We can’t fully discuss our nation’s energy future without also addressing the President’s moratorium on new federal coal leases and royalty increase attempts for federal coal, oil and natural gas.
“I hope that we can work together in a bipartisan fashion to address these important issues, which have a significant impact on jobs, tax revenue and energy prices in my home state.
“I’d like to thank Chairman Murkowski, Ranking Member Cantwell and their staff for their work in getting us this far.
“I look forward to seeing and voting on additional amendments from my colleagues in coming days.
“And I look forward to getting this bill across the finish line and providing the American people with a comprehensive energy policy that works to support both our economic security and our national security.”