COMPREHENSIVE ENERGY LEGISLATION

May 14, 2015

We are communicating with each of you to be sure that all of our clients and friends are aware that the Chairs of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce intend to report comprehensive energy legislation from their committees before the scheduled start of the August congressional recess, July 30th in the House of Representatives and August 7th in the Senate.  Both Chairmen, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), have stated that they want the legislation to be bipartisan, if possible, and are following similar processes for developing the legislation.

We recognize that, based on the records of legislative achievement of recent Congresses, the notion of comprehensive energy legislation is greeted with skepticism by many observers and interested parties.  Nevertheless, we believe that these concerted efforts by Chairman Murkowski and Chairman Upton deserve to be taken seriously by all parties interested in federal energy policy.

The process being followed by both committees contains traditional opportunities to be heard on a wide range of energy policies:

  • Both Chairs have indicated the broad areas of policy that they intend to address in their respective bills and are addressing various groups and industries about their interest in comprehensive energy legislation.  These categories include efficiency, infrastructure, supply and accountability.
  • Both committee staffs are engaged in meetings with interested parties, including listening sessions around Washington, D.C., and beyond.
  • Members of Congress, including particularly Senate Energy and Natural Resource Committee members, are being encouraged to introduce bills that might find their way, in whole or in part, into comprehensive legislation.
  • Legislative hearings already have been held and are scheduled to create a formal legislative record for the legislation.  Click here to view a list of bills being considered by both the House and Senate energy committees.
  • In the coming weeks, the Chairs, working with their Ranking Members and other Members of their committees, will begin the process of developing a “chairman’s mark” for consideration by their committees later this summer.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

If you have an interest in any of the federal energy policy areas identified above or listed in the linked documents, we encourage you to engage in this process.  The following are our recommendations for general steps to be taken as the committees develop legislation:

  • Learn what concepts, ideas and provisions are being considered for inclusion in the comprehensive energy bill and identify areas of potential opportunity as well as areas of potential problems for your business.
  • Develop your “ask” and the case for your ask.  If your interest is in preventing a potentially harmful legislative provision from being included in either bill, then identify that provision and develop the case against the provision.
  • Engage with the Members and staff of the committees as this legislation is being developed.  Engagement on this issue should begin now and probably will need to continue at least through July. 

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

We actively are engaged in the comprehensive energy legislation effort in both the House and Senate on behalf of a number of clients.  The clients with whom we are working recognize the difficulty of developing and enacting comprehensive energy legislation. They also recognize the long term benefits of engaging with the Chairs, Members, and staff of these committees as they attempt to develop and move this important national legislation.

If you are interested in talking to any of the professionals of Van Ness Feldman about this potential legislation, please contact Tom Roberts, Shelley Fidler or Bob Szabo at (202) 298-1800.

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