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On Thursday afternoon, the Senate’s energy committee sent the first wide-ranging energy bill in over six years to the senate floor, but not before weighing it down with an array of provisions that ensure opposition from many environmentalist groups. The bill, as well as any amendments Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell consents to, could receive votes after the August summer recess.
The main piece of legislation, the “Energy Policy and Modernization Act of 2015,” does not directly address wind and solar energy, sources that comprise the epitome of “modern” energy — over half of new generating capacity came from wind and solar in the first half of 2015. The bill instead focuses on fossil fuels and infrastructure: natural gas pipeline permitting, authorizing the main federal conservation fund, job training, updating the grid, as well as a push on energy efficiency. The Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed it with an 18-4 vote and many statements of good faith from Democrats and Republicans. Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Mike Lee (R-UT), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT) were the four to vote against it.