Rounds Issues Statement Following Senate Passage of Bipartisan Energy Bill
Includes his easement disclosure amendment
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today issued the following statement on the Senate’s passage of the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act, which included his easement disclosure amendment. The bill passed by a vote of 85-12.
“For the first time in nearly a decade, the Senate passed legislation to modernize and update our nation’s energy policies,” said Rounds. “The bipartisan bill will increase energy security and help keep energy costs low for South Dakota families.”
“Additionally, I’m pleased the bill includes my amendment to make sure landowners are aware of all the options available to them when choosing to place their land in a conservation easement. South Dakota’s landowners deserve to know that perpetual conservation easements aren’t their only option. My amendment will increase awareness for shorter, termed easements and result in greater access and conservation of land.”
Rounds’ amendment contains language to establish a federal education program through the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow landowners to learn all of the federal conservation options available to them when choosing to restrict future use of their land through a federal easement. The agency will be required to make landowners aware of this education program when approaching them about participating in a conservation program.
Additionally, the Black Hills National Cemetery Boundary Expansion Act, introduced by Rounds and Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), was included as part of an amendment in the Energy Policy Modernization Act. It will facilitate a permanent land transfer of approximately 200 acres of Bureau of Land Management land to expand the Black Hills National Cemetery.
The bipartisan Brownfields Utilization, Investment and Local Development (BUILD) Act, also cosponsored by Rounds, was included in the Energy Policy Modernization Act. This legislation will provide funding for technical assistance grants to small communities and rural areas, expand the scope of eligible grant recipients to include non-profit community groups, and authorize funding for multi-purpose grants to tackle more complex sites.
Summary of Key Provisions of the Energy Policy Modernization Act
Efficiency – Energy efficiency provides significant benefits for consumers, the economy and the environment. The provisions in this title include agreements on everything from longer-term utility energy service contracts to the reauthorization of the weatherization and state energy programs. The efficiency of our homes, buildings and manufacturing facilities all stand to increase as a result of it.
Infrastructure – We depend on electrical transmission lines and other infrastructure to transport energy from where it is produced to where it is used. This title will help modernize our electrical grid, enhance cybersecurity safeguards, maintain the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, provide a streamlined process for natural gas export projects and solidify a qualified, well-trained workforce.
Supply – To provide for an energy supply that is increasingly abundant, affordable, clean, diverse and secure, this title focuses on the development of renewable energy, traditional resources, and non-fuel minerals alike. The responsible development of American resources – including hydropower geothermal, bioenergy and rare earth elements – will strengthen our economy, competitiveness and security for decades to come.
Accountability – Practical reforms are needed to advance innovation, protect electric reliability and assure proper stewardship of taxpayer dollars. Among the provisions in this title are the reauthorization of certain energy-related components of the America COMPETES Act, better interagency coordination of energy/water initiatives, and the repeal of numerous provisions within the U.S. Code that are outdated or redundant.
Conservation Reauthorization – The Committee is also responsible for oversight and stewardship of our public lands. The bipartisan legislation permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund in a way that balances land acquisition with other conservation programs important to states and permanently reauthorizes the Historic Preservation Fund, both set to expire this fall. It also creates a new National Park Maintenance and Revitalization Fund, to address the maintenance backlog at some of our nation’s most treasured public places.