House, Senate Panels Plan Hearings To Get Input on Broad Energy Legislation

April 17 (BNA) — Legislators drafting broad energy legislation have scheduled the first in what is expected to be a series of hearings to gain input on the bills.

In the House, an Energy and Commerce subcommittee has scheduled an April 23 hearing on “legislative language to create a 21st century energy and manufacturing workforce.”

Specifically, a planned section of the legislation would direct the Energy Department to “establish a comprehensive program to improve education and training for energy and manufacturing-related jobs,” according to a hearing notice issued by the Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

Other parts of the legislation, which committee members plan to bring to the floor later this year, include titles on infrastructure, “energy diplomacy” and energy efficiency, according to a framework released by Republican committee leaders in February (27 DER A-15, 2/10/15).

Subcommittee Chairman Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) told Bloomberg BNA April 15 that “in the next three weeks or so, the committee should be ready to move.”

Senate Efficiency Hearing

In the Senate, an April 30 hearing on energy efficiency marks the first of a series of hearings planned on comprehensive energy legislation being written by Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska).

The hearing will be on a series of energy efficiency bills, including energy efficiency legislation (S. 720) by Sens. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that stalled in the 113th Congress. The Senate passed a narrower version of the bill (S. 535) by voice vote in March (60 DER A-11, 3/30/15).

The hearing also will focus on legislation (S. 703) introduced by Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) that would authorize billions of dollars to extend the Weatherization Assistance Program and the State Energy Program, as well as a bill (S. 858) by Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) designed to encourage the increased use of performance contracting in federal facilities. Performance contracts eliminate the need for up-front capital spending by a government agency, and the costs are recouped through energy savings.

Additional hearings are scheduled for May on other parts of the comprehensive energy bill, which Murkowski announced in January. Those hearings will include a focus on strengthening supply, modernizing infrastructure, supporting efficiency and ensuring federal accountability.

“We’re kind of sketching out where we go,” Murkowski told Bloomberg BNA April 15.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com

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