A bipartisan energy bill that passed the U.S. Senate Wednesday included millions of dollars in funding for coal technology research.
The Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016, which had bi-partisan support, adopts an extensive package of provisions updating the country's energy policy for the first time in nearly a decade.
Sen. Joe Manchin had four provisions placed in the bill which, his office said, promote an all-of-the-above energy policy.
The provisions would keep coal competitive with other low-carbon energy sources and speeding up efforts to develop carbon emission-reducing technologies. Also included in the bill is the permanent authorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which helps maintain and expand access to West Virginia's Gauley River and key battlefield areas around Harpers Ferry.
“My measures ensure that we are investing in the necessary research development and advanced technologies to address the preservation of low cost electricity, clean coal production, cost effective energy practices and carbon emissions reduction. These will help strike a balance between a healthy economy and a clean environment, and my measures will support the future of coal, provide good jobs and make our country more energy diverse, effective, and secure for years to come.” Manchin said in a statement.
Four provisions offered by Sen. Shelley Moore Capito include language and amendments to improve the pipeline permitting process, boost carbon capture and storage technologies and require a feasibility study of an ethane storage and distribution hub in the Utica-Marcellus-Rogersville Shale region, found in the northern and central parts of the state.
"By advancing smart, all-of-the-above energy policies we can support jobs, grow our economy and benefit from more efficient, affordable and reliable energy,” she said in a statement.
The bill, approved 85-12, largely didn't address taboo energy topics of climate change and oil and gas exploration that have stalled other energy bills, although the bill would speed the export of LNG, liquified natural gas.
The energy bill enjoyed support from business and environmental groups, including the U.S Chamber of Commerce, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the Alliance to Save Energy and the Pew Charitable Trusts.
However, some environmental groups signaled a tepid response to the bill.