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Senate Moves Forward on Energy Bill

Last week, the Senate started debate on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015 (S.2012). The bill, sponsored by Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), is the first major bipartisan energy bill to hit the Senate floor in almost a decade.  Members of Congress have indicated that they may offer amendments to lift the coal leasing moratorium on federal lands and separately increase incentives for carbon capture and sequestration, among other things.  These provisions are likely to be controversial due to their nature and impact on the bill’s current deficit-neutral status.  Some of the proposed measures are controversial enough that they could derail the bill in Congress or result in a White House veto.  Possible NGV-related amendments that NGVAmerica has been working on include a measure to adjust the Inland Waterways Financing rate on LNG so that the tax is imposed on a diesel gallon equivalent (DGE) basis rather than on a per gallon basis, and an amendment that would improve the fuel economy calculation for bi-fuel natural gas vehicles. The pro-NGV amendments are not expected to be controversial.