U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Statement on Bipartisan Energy Reforms
Wisconsin energy leaders praise Baldwin’s bipartisan provisions included in bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin released the following statement on the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, which cleared the Senate today by a vote of 85-12. The comprehensive legislation addresses issues of energy efficiency, infrastructure, supply, accountability, and land conservation. The reform package includes multiple provisions authored and supported by Senator Baldwin.
“In order for America to succeed and create new opportunities for growth, we need to move to a clean energy economy,” said Senator Baldwin. “The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act updates our energy laws to do more for energy efficiency and innovative research programs, while strengthening one of the world’s most successful conservation programs, and ensuring our nation’s long lasting commitment to stewardship. I was proud to champion several bipartisan reforms included today as we work to power a Made in Wisconsin economy for generations to come.”
Included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 were several provisions championed by Senator Baldwin
- The bipartisan ExaSCALE Computing Leadership Act, which will enable the Department of Energy to invest in the next generation of supercomputers and create research partnerships between universities and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s national labs to develop and build two exascale supercomputers. This provision sets a goal of having a computer system that has reached “exascale” – a measure of speed that is beyond any other system in the world – by 2023. Cray, Inc. has been building the world’s leading supercomputers for decades at their Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin facility, and will be competing to develop and build this next generation. Currently, these computers are expected to be in the development phase until at least 2018.
- The Land and Water Conservation Act, which permanently authorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a highly-successful federal program dedicated to the continued conservation and protection of America’s irreplaceable natural, historic, cultural and outdoor landmarks that expired last year on September 30. The Historic Preservation Fund, which assists communities in preserving their cultural heritage, is also permeant reauthorized. Senator Baldwin has long been a strong champion of the LWCF and the Wisconsin conservation projects funded by the program.
- The bipartisan Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) Act, which will advance federal efforts to address energy-water nexus issues through the creation of a new energy-water nexus program office and the Nexus of Energy and Water for Sustainability (NEWS) committee, led by DOE and the U.S. Department of the Interior. This will help the federal government build stronger partnerships with leaders in this work, such as The Water Council and the Midwest Energy Research Consortium.
- The Water Efficiency Innovation Act, which will help communities and businesses save energy costs and reduce their pollution, as well as address water quality issues in groundwater, lakes and rivers. Authored by Senator Baldwin, the Water Efficiency Innovation Act allows DOE Industrial Assessment Centers (IACs) to provide their technical assessment services to water and wastewater facilities, including systems that treat municipal, industrial, and agricultural waste.
- A provision from the bipartisan Maritime and Energy Workforce Technical Training Enhancement Act to allow the new Energy Workforce Pilot Grant Program to be used to address the critical need for trained workers in the maritime and energy industries by establishing centers of excellence programs in maritime and energy workforce technical training.
- Restored advanced manufacturing programs important to Wisconsin industries. Senator Baldwin fought to restore programs that have been used by Wisconsin manufacturers, especially Wisconsin paper producers, to develop advanced materials and more energy efficient processes needed to compete in the global marketplace. Additionally, Senator Baldwin fought to reverse the elimination of DOE Advanced Manufacturing Office’s ability to partner manufacturers with universities to provide technical assistance to lower their energy costs.
- The America COMPETES Act, which invests in basic research to stimulate long term economic growth and innovation. As Europe, China, and Korea increase their investment in basic research, the percentage of the U.S. federal budget devoted to research and development has fallen from around 10 percent in 1968 to less than 4 percent in 2015. To help prevent this in the future, the provision would allow DOE’s Office of Science to double its budget in 10 year, supporting research in labs like those at UW-Madison and UW-Milwaukee.
- The Bipartisan Sportsmen Act, which will increase sportsmen’s access to federal lands, allow bows to be transported across national park lands, and mandate that lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management be open to recreational hunting, fishing and shooting unless specifically closed by the agencies. Senator Baldwin has supported the bipartisan legislation and Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation economy.
Background on Senator Baldwin’s amendments to the Energy Policy Modernization Act is available here: Water Efficiency Innovation Act; Maritime and Energy Workforce Technical Training Enhancement Act; Advanced manufacturing programs
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