Senate Votes to Conference on Energy Bill

Statement by Rob Cowin, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jul 12, 2016

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2016)—Today, the Senate voted to go to conference on the Energy Policy and Modernization Act of 2016. Below is a statement from Rob Cowin, director of government affairs for the Climate and Energy Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

“We’re cautiously optimistic about the prospects of getting a good energy bill out of conference. Both parties have a lot invested, and aren’t interested in wasting their time. They also know the president isn’t going to sign a bill that retains egregious provisions from the House bill.

“Although much better than the partisan House bill, the bipartisan Senate bill contains a worrisome provision categorizing the burning of biomass for electricity as carbon-neutral. This is not only scientifically inaccurate, but could also undercut EPA’s current efforts to determine the proper role for biomass in the Clean Power Plan and potentially lead to increased carbon pollution.

“If conferees are willing to strike the bad House provisions and fix the Senate’s biomass provision, the final bill could pass both chambers and escape a presidential veto. But there’s much work to be done to reach such a compromise.

“At the end of the day, this bill isn’t nearly enough to speed up the US transition towards a clean energy economy. However, it will provide a modest step in the right direction on issues such as energy efficiency and clean energy infrastructure.”