Energy & Environment Update - May 2015 #3

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In This Issue:

- Energy and Climate

- Congress

- Administration

- Department of Energy

- Department of Interior

- Environmental Protection Agency

- Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

- International

- States

- Excerpt from Energy and Climate Debate:

The House and Senate are in session this week prior to recessing for the Memorial Day holiday, and the Highway Trust Fund, trade promotion authority, and appropriations are driving the remainder of the May agenda while energy and tax issues garner significant attention through multiple bill introductions and committee hearings.

As Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Ranking Member Maria Cantwell (D-WA) plan to soon introduce their broad bipartisan energy package, they have told their colleagues to submit their legislation in anticipation of the larger package, which will include efficiency, infrastructure, supply, and accountability titles. Despite a May 7 committee-imposed deadline for bills to be considered for inclusion in the broad energy package, senators from both sides of the aisle introduced a large number of energy bills last week, and additional legislation is expected to continue trickling in for weeks to come. The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has already held a hearing April 30 on 22 energy efficiency bills and a hearing May 14 on 22 infrastructure issues. This week, the committee will consider 30 bills for potential inclusion under the supply title of the legislation, and the committee will hold a final hearing, on accountability and oversight, the first week of June. Once the hearings are complete, committee staff will form joint working groups to put together official bill language, and markups will follow soon thereafter. In the meantime, Senator Cantwell continues to lead the effort to address energy tax extenders by reinstating, extending, or making permanent a handful of expired clean energy tax credits, including potentially incorporating them into a broad energy bill via a tax title, for which there is historical precedence. Earlier this year, Senator Cantwell’s staff considered how to build on what then-Senator Max Baucus proposed last Congress on a technology neutral or performance based energy tax policy. Two of the Senate Finance Committee Working Groups, the Business Income Tax Working Group, co-chaired by Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), and the Community Development and Infrastructure Working Group, co-chaired by Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Michael Bennet (D-CO), are claiming jurisdiction over the energy portions of tax reform. With comprehensive tax reform increasingly unlikely before the 2016 election cycle, Senator Cantwell is focusing her efforts on the tax extender pieces, including the Production Tax Credit, the Investment Tax Credit, the Advanced Manufacturing Tax Credit, and other clean energy provisions. She has already offered an amendment a number of times this session to make the clean energy tax provisions permanent, and plans to continue to offer the language to any moving legislation. The Senate Finance Committee posted April 29 nearly 1,500 public comment submissions to the tax reform working groups. The working groups have begun convening to present the their progress reports, but negotiations are taking place behind closed doors. The groups are scheduled to report their final recommendations to Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) by May 25.

Please see full issue below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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