Amendments galore filed to House package

By Geof Koss | 11/30/2015 07:25 AM EST

Lawmakers from both parties have filed dozens of amendments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s broad energy bill ahead of this week’s floor debate.

Lawmakers from both parties have filed dozens of amendments to the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s broad energy bill ahead of this week’s floor debate.

The House Rules Committee is scheduled to meet this evening and tomorrow to sort through the multitude of amendments to the bill (H.R. 8), which aims to increase efficiency, speed natural gas exports and boost the aging electric grid.

After months of bipartisan negotiations that collapsed over climate policy and other sticking points that Democrats wanted addressed in the measure, Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) moved the bill through committee in September with support from just three minority members (E&E Daily, Oct. 1).


Upton last week filed a manager’s amendment to the bill that pares down the legislation by removing some bipartisan provisions backed by Democrats, along with others that drew objections from conservatives (Greenwire, Nov. 20).

But after segregating more contentious provisions from the bill in an effort to keep it bipartisan, more controversial issues may surface on the floor.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) has filed an amendment to repeal the crude oil exports ban, while Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.) separately is proposing to exempt Mexico from the controls and codify an existing administrative exemption for Canada.

Both amendments have Democratic co-sponsors.

Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas) has offered an amendment that would allow the Commerce Department to restrict crude exports unless they meet a "national interest" test.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) is proposing to repeal the renewable fuel standard, while Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) wants to repeal energy conservation standards under the 1975 Energy Policy and Conservation Act.

Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), who as ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee helped negotiate the package, has filed an amendment that would delay its effective date until the U.S. Energy Information Administration analyzes the bill’s impacts on carbon emissions.

An amendment by Rep. Dan Kildee (D-Mich.) would include oil sands in the IRS’s definition of "crude oil," making them qualify for the excise tax that funds the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.

Other amendments respond to more recent policy trends, including a proposal by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) that would require the Energy Department to develop a 15-year plan for selling off the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with all revenues raised steered toward deficit reduction.

Green, one of just three Democrats to support the underlying bill in committee, also had filed a trio of amendments intended to sidestep the lengthy permitting dispute that stalled the Keystone XL pipeline for years.

The first would establish a permitting process within DOE, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the State Department for cross-border infrastructure projects; a second Green amendment would require these agencies to write a memorandum of understanding on permitting such projects.

Green’s third amendment would require State to develop a "pre-file" process for cross-border oil pipelines.

Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.) has offered an amendment that would require DOE to develop a management plan for federal stockpiles of excess uranium "that ensures a fair return for the taxpayers and provides long term certainty and transparency for industry and the public."

Reps. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) have filed an amendment that would establish a national bipartisan commission on energy policy composed of 15 members from a range of backgrounds.

Also on today’s Rules Committee agenda are a pair of Congressional Review Act resolutions targeting EPA’s Clean Power Plan (Greenwire, Nov. 18).

A second Rules meeting focused solely on the energy bill is set for tomorrow afternoon.

Schedule: The House Rules Committee meetings are Monday, Nov. 30, at 5 p.m. in H-313 Capitol and Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 3 p.m. in H-313 Capitol.