ENERGY AND CLIMATE DEBATE -
Last week there was the glimmer of progress on the Senate bipartisan energy bill, with a hotline request to approve a number of amendments. This came after a compromise agreement announced by Senator Inhofe (R-OK) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) on addressing the water crisis in Flint, MI. The Flint legislation (H.R. 4470) would strengthen the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority to notify the public when lead levels in drinking water violate federal standards, and provide $250 million in aid to Flint and other places around the country with contaminated drinking water. A vote on H.R. 4470 would come after work on the energy bill is completed; however a hold on the energy legislation by Senators Lee (R-UT) and Vitter (R-LA) has slowed the process and the Senate Budget Committee has determined that the Flint proposal would increase federal spending and therefore needs to be changed before it can proceed.
Also making progress last week in the Senate was the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) reauthorization bill, but that stalled and will instead be taken up this week. The Senate reauthorization measure would run through 2019 and includes provisions directing the agency to complete several overdue safety rules.
Please see full update below for more information.