U.S. SENATE —Senator Steve Daines took to the Senate floor to tout the importance of permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) – an important tool to preserve and protect Montanans way of life.
The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 overwhelmingly passed the Senate this morning with a vote of 85-12.
This key legislation will help expand Montana energy production and at Daines’ request will permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
In addition to the permanent reauthorization of LWCF, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016:
- Provides for the reinstatement and three-year extension of a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license for Clark Canyon Dam Hydro Project in Dillon, Montana and a six-year extension of the FERC license for the Gibson Dam Hydro Project near Augusta, Montana.
- Daines’ bills passed out of Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 30, 2015.
- Streamlines the permitting for the export of liquefied natural gas, allowing more American energy to power the world.
- Strengthens hydropower development by defining hydro as a renewable fuel.
- Establishes a pilot project to streamline drilling permits if less than 25 percent of the minerals within the spacing unit are federal minerals – particularly important to Montana given the patchwork of land and mineral ownership in the Bakken.
- Improves federal permitting of critical and strategic mineral production – which supports thousands of good-paying Montana jobs and is essential to our national security and international competitiveness.
- Strengthens restrictions on overreaching Obama administration rules like the EPA Power Plan.
- Includes components of the Sportsmen’s package that promotes and protects access to Montana’s public lands and increases recreational opportunities for hunters and anglers.
- Provides a path to stop obstructionist litigation caused by extreme environmentalists that harm Montana made forest projects.
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An excerpt of Daines’ remarks is below:
“Today, we took steps to secure our Montana heritage and made-in-Montana jobs. We stood up for the Montana way of life. Today, we passed a bill that for the first time would permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, an important piece of legislation ensuring that Montanan’s have access to public lands.
“As a fifth generation Montanan and avid sportsman, I recognize how valuable our public lands are and the importance of ensuring access for generations to come. In Montana and throughout the country, the Land and Water Conservation Fund plays a critical role in achieving the goal of increased access and by helping preserve and protect Montanans’ opportunities to enjoy hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation. LWCF keeps lands, like family ranches, in the family and working.
“It keeps forests in productive use through the Forest Legacy Program— like in the Haskill Basin, where my good friend Chuck Roady of Stoltze Land and Lumber works. Today is a victory for them. Like Eric Grove of Great Divide Cyclery in Helena, Montana, who has built his mountain bike business around the South Hills Trail System outside of Helena, facilitated by LWCF. There are many other small businesses like Eric’s in Montana that depend on our thriving outdoor economy.
“Today’s passage of the Energy bill will help unleash Montana’s and our country’s energy potential and uphold our country’s commitment to conservation.”
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.