The Senate and the House of Representatives are both on Spring Recess, with the Senate returning on April 4 and the House scheduled to return on April 12. Despite the recess, the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has continued behind-the-scenes talks regarding the bipartisan energy bill, and remains optimistic that the bill will be passed by the Senate. In other news, Congress passed a three-plus-month reauthorization for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that runs through July 15 just before breaking for recess. The FAA extension, however, did not address extensions of the 2016 Investment Tax Credit for technologies that were excluded from last December’s agreement that extended the ITC for solar.
On March 14, the House introduced a bill entitled the Unauthorized Spending Accountability (USA) Act, which could negatively affect major portions of the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act and Superfund Law, and others. Elsewhere, the EPA released a report on March 23 on the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA) program, which showed that clean diesel grants aimed at cleaning up old diesel engines have improved public health by cutting harmful pollution. The DOE announced on March 22 investments of over $9 million in 16 facility- and community-scale clean energy projects in 24 American Indian and Alaska Native communities. On March 25, the DOE also announced that it will participate in the development of the Plains & Eastern Clean Line Project, which will utilize low-cost wind generation resources in Oklahoma and Texas regions to deliver energy to more than 1.5 million homes. For more on these developments and the latest from D.C., read this week’s update from ML Strategies.