ICYMI: Gardner Discusses Colorado Priorities in Comprehensive Energy Legislation

Washington, DC – Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), a member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, spoke on the U.S. Senate Floor in support of the Energy Policy Modernization Act. The Energy Policy Modernization Act prioritizes energy efficiency, modernizes aging infrastructure, and increases our energy supply. Additionally, the legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a critical initiative that preserves public lands and ensures public access to the outdoors. Gardner has repeatedly called for and voted for the permanent reauthorization of the LWCF as it would provide certainty and benefit the economy, sportsmen, wildlife, and the next generation of Coloradans who wish to enjoy the State’s great outdoors.

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Remarks as prepared for delivery:

“Mr. President, I would like to take a moment to applaud the good work of Chairman Murkowski and Ranking Member Cantwell to get this bill – the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 – to the Senate floor.

“They have been leaders and shown their commitment to developing and advancing this bipartisan bill.

“The bill is the result of nearly a year’s worth of work on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, with four legislative hearings leading up to a July markup.  

“There have been many hours put into this base text, and we had a strong bipartisan vote to report the bill out of committee by 18-4. 

“It is also nice to see that Members have had the opportunity to make this bill even stronger through an open amendment process on the Senate floor.  

“The Energy Policy Modernization Act will lead to more energy efficiency, more energy generation, and more jobs in the energy sector.

“Promoting energy efficiency and clean alternative power sources have been a focus of my career in public service, and I am pleased that I’ve had a chance with my role on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee to continue shaping federal energy policy in the United States Senate.

“I’d like to highlight several provisions that I’ve helped champion in the base text. 

“Section 1006 would encourage the use of Energy Savings Performance Contracts and Utility Energy Savings Contracts in federal buildings. 

“These tools are innovative public-private partnerships in which private companies use private dollars to make efficiency upgrades to federal buildings  The private companies are reimbursed for the upgrades once the federal building’s energy costs are lowered.

“Last night, I had an amendment that passed by voice vote which requires federal agencies to implement energy savings projects at federal facilities.  

“Mandatory federal audits already outline energy savings projects for federal facilities aimed at reducing energy consumption and saving tax dollars, however federal agencies were not required to implement these changes.  

“My bipartisan amendment changes that, and I’m pleased we were able to add this commonsense amendment to the energy bill. 

“Section 3002 would reauthorize a Department of Energy program for ten additional years to provide funding to retrofit existing dams and river conduits with electricity-generating technology.   

“According to DOE reports, there are up to 12 gigawatts of untapped hydropower development within the nation’s existing dam infrastructure, and only three percent of the nation’s 80,000 existing dams are used to generate clean hydroelectric power.

“We’ve heard from the Colorado Small Hydro Association that there are new Colorado hydroelectric projects benefiting from this program that was originally authorized in the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  

“These projects include new small hydro projects near Ouray, Creede, Grand Lake and Ridgway, Colorado.

“Another measure I’ve backed for years is Section 2201, which expedites the approval of liquefied natural gas export applications.

“This policy helps support our allies overseas with a secure energy source and creates American jobs. 

“I also worked on Section 4101 to commission a study of the feasibility and potential benefits that could be brought about by an energy-water center of excellence within the Department of Energy’s National Laboratories.  

“An energy-water center of excellence would aid in efforts to establish a comprehensive approach for managing energy and water resources in the future. 

“In Section 3017, I worked to clarify that oilseed crops are eligible to qualify for the same research provisions as biomass. 

“Meeting future demand for energy and fuel will require a variety of sources, and science and research indicate that oilseed crops have the potential to play a significant role.

“The Central Great Plains Research Station in Akron, Colorado is researching oilseed productivity under varying water availability.  

“Meeting our energy needs in an increasingly drought-ridden area will only become harder and harder.

“Without enough research, we may not have an appropriate response. But with continued innovation, we may have a great one. 

“Oilseeds could hold the key to providing safe, clean energy that’s water-efficient – a key for the increasingly drought-ridden West.

“Mr. President, these are only a few of the provisions I worked on to advance in this bill, and I thank my colleagues for including these provisions which are so important to my home state of Colorado.  

“I look forward to supporting final passage of the Energy Policy Modernization Act.

“Mr. President, I yield back.”



Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.


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