Just before Congress takes its August break, the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has finished marking up its bipartisan energy bill, an effort to make the most sweeping update to the country’s energy policy in more than 8 years. The legislation—which would authorize a wide array of programs—includes a call to boost funding for the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Office of Science by 4% per year for 5 years. The office is the nation’s major funder of energy and physical science research.
Other provisions within the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 would push for greater energy efficiency, updates to the energy grid, and a grid storage program; ease the permitting of natural gas pipelines; and permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which provides money for habitat protection. The committee passed it by an 18 to 4 vote.
“What we have done today is laid out a base bill that has good, strong bipartisan support and regional support,” said Lisa Murkowski (R–AK), one of the bill’s two sponsors, at a press conference yesterday.