Senate Begins Comprehensive Energy Bill

In Washington, the Senate is starting to debate about Energy again for the first time since the last law on the subject passed in 2007. Surprisingly, this is being done across the aisle, with both parties coming into the fold. This debate is badly needed in order to update the way the US uses its power.

How the Production of Power is changing

Since the last energy bill was passed, the way the United States creates power has been evolving.

  •         There is no longer a fear of a depleting oil and gas resources in the United States.
  •         Wind and solar power technologies are becoming more cost efficient over fossil fuels.
  •         Regulations set forth by President Obama to keep the air clean is slowly changing the production of power.
  •         Power plants that use mainly coal for production are being replaced by alternate electric sources.

Bipartisan Participation

As the energy debate begins to heat up and bipartisan involvement increases, it is evident that both sides are cooling their political efforts. In the last 8 years of Obama’s presidency, no real efforts to change policy came through to the President. There is now positive feeling that with the current Presidential race, energy production will come forward and help mold the direction of both parties into an ultimate decision on a compromising policy.

There are majority and minority leaders on both sides of each party who have come forward in compromise to finally get an energy plan that can be passed and put into law. The meat of the bill was on a high level, affecting multiple situations and ideas. This needed to be dropped to a lower level view that focused on efficient ways of energy as well as updating the infrastructure that is currently in place.

The lower level view would not include certain things the Democratic side would like, nor certain things the Republican side would like.

Some Details of the Bill

  •         Renewable Energy: Solar power cost has gone down significantly. The bill suggests ways to update the infrastructure that harnesses that power.
  •         The electrical grid: The bill would introduce ways to make crucial updates to the grid to store the harnessed energy.
  •         Land and Water Conservation fund: The bill would conserve wilderness areas and national parks.

Possible Setbacks

While this energy debate has more bipartisan support in quite some time, there are setbacks. Groups affiliated with each party have started to come forward addressing their concerns about the details of the bill. Republicans see parts of the bill that cater to Democrats, and believe it should be omitted, such as the plan to halt coal mine leases. Democrats have their own tiffs on whether or not the bill is leaning towards the future or simply inching it’s way too slowly. Even President Obama is in disagreement with part of the bill, the White House reports. That part of the bill has bipartisan participation.

 

Voting on the amendments of the bill has already begun, and Senators will continue through this week.