Forward momentum on the Shaheen-Portman energy-efficiency bill ground to a halt May 12 after Senate Democrats and Republicans failed to reach an agreement on the bill’s amendments, which included GOP-sponsored additions on the Keystone XL pipeline, greenhouse gas emissions regulations, and natural gas imports.

Charlie McCrudden, senior vice president for government relations at ACCA, said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, had been reluctant to allow such amendments, as they may put Senate Democrats in a difficult position during election season.

“Majority Leader Reid filed a procedural motion that shuts out any opportunity to offer amendments on Keystone or the proposed EPA [U.S. Environmental Protection Agency] rules,” McCrudden explained on ACCA’s website. “Limiting the amendments dooms the bill’s chances to get to the floor before the November elections.”

Kateri Callahan, president, Alliance to Save Energy, expressed frustration with the Senate’s actions.

“Shamefully, today marks not the first, but the second time that the Senate has allowed partisanship to stand in the way of the Shaheen-Portman bill,” she said. “Hopefully, the Senate can begin to function once again on behalf of the American people and we will see the Shaheen-Portman bill brought back to the Senate floor for a vote on final passage before the year closes.”

The Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act, now in its fourth iteration since 2011, was most recently introduced on Feb. 27 by U.S. Sens. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Jeanne Shaheen, D-New Hampshire. It would, among other things, strengthen energy-saving model building codes and promote energy efficiency in residential, federal, and industrial buildings. If enacted, it would be the first energy-efficiency legislation in more than seven years.

Publication date: 5/26/2014

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