WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and chairman of the Senate Energy Subcommittee, has secured four of his energy priorities into the bipartisan Senate energy package announced Thursday by U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Joe Manchin (D-WV).
Three of Cassidy’s bills made the package in their entirety, including the Small Scale LNG Access Act, the Timely Review of Infrastructure Act, and the Technology Transition Act of 2019. Key provisions of Cassidy’s LEADING Act, a natural gas carbon capture bill, were also included in the package.
“America’s pursuit of energy dominance and its embrace of natural gas is creating jobs and lowering emissions. These provisions will improve efficiency and promote new technologies that will benefit Louisiana workers and our environment,” said Dr. Cassidy.
The Small Scale LNG Access Act expedites approval of natural gas exports by deeming that applications to export up to 51.75 billion cubic feet per year to any country in the public interest. Specifically, increasing exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas (LNG) can decrease reliance in Caribbean and Central American countries on fuel oil from countries such as Venezuela, increase economic opportunities, and offer a cleaner-burning fuel source for those nations. The United States is well-positioned to meet the anticipated growth in global natural gas demand.
The Timely Review of Infrastructure Act allows the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to compensate people with scientific, technological, engineering and mathematical skills at a higher level than the current civil service rate. The bill will have an impact on offices that review natural gas projects, hydroelectric projects, development of reliability and security standards for the power grid, and cyberattack prevention.
The Technology Transition Act codifies the Office of Technology Transition, which works to advance and expand technology transfer and commercialization efforts within the Department of Energy (DOE). The bill would prioritize and provide structure to an office that aims to govern the DOE’s role in efficiently developing next generation technologies. It also requires that the Secretary of Energy review all emission reduction research and development programs to then develop recommendations on how to make them more efficient.
Among the provisions of the LEADING Act that made the package include strengthened definitions of natural gas and natural gas generation facilities that will allow DOE to more closely examine natural gas plants for carbon capture. It also requires DOE to identify barriers to commercial development of carbon capture technologies and ensures that a broad range of technologies and electric generation facilities are chosen for pilot and demonstration projects.