Executive Director
Energy Council

Email Katie


The Budget Address is this week and filing deadline is February 16 th.  While the Committee schedule is relatively light, we'll know the bulk of bills we are dealing with this year by Friday.  As of this week, below is a summary of what to expect and new bills of note.

House Environment is scheduled for Tuesday at 3.30pm.  HR123 (Moeller) and HR3643 are posted to Committee. We oppose both bills.  HR123 urges Enbridge and other pipeline companies to have an independent study done, before any new pipeline is laid or product moves through existing pipe, to determine the effects of fossil fuels on climate change.  Staff has confirmed the resolution will not be called.  The sponsor intends on redrafting by way of another resolution or possible amendment and likely does not want to move forward with HR123 as currently written.

HB3643 (Moeller) is also listed but has been referred to House Environment and Regulations Subcommittee (which has only Rep. Cavellto assigned to it).  The intent of HB3643 is to deprive pipeline companies that have a demonstrated history of not acting in the interest of public convenience of eminent domain powers.

House Energy is scheduled to meet on Tuesday at 4pm.  HR651 (Thapedi) is posted, which calls for support of strengthening the nation's grid with advance technologies.

Recently Introduced Senate Bills
SB2480 (Hasting) creates the Hazardous Materials Workforce Act, which requires the EPA to develop approved training curriculum for advanced safety training for contractors at hazardous facilities - in this bill all petroleum refineries and petrochemical facilities. The Chamber is opposed to this bill as industry already requires extensive safety training.  The bill has been referred to the Senate Labor Committee.  Our coalition one-pager is here.

SB2656 (McCann) prohibits suing a gas station or equipment owner if there was an injury caused by an individual performing unauthorized maintenance on the equipment. The bill is in Senate Assignments.

SB2591/ HB4651 (Bennet/Meier) these bills would expand the Wind Energy Facilities Agriculture Impact Mitigation Act (AIMA) requirements to solar facilities, but would also require solar installers to sign an AIMA before speaking with land owners.  The bills are in Senate Assignments and House Rules, respectively.

Recently Introduced House Bills
HB4724 (Phelps Finnie) amends the Hydraulic Fracturing Tax Act by removing provisions concerning first purchaser exemption certificates. The bill was just filed yesterday.

HB4680 (Welch) creates the Municipal Gas Use Tax law, which allows a municipality to impose a self-assessing purchaser tax for the privilege of using gas obtained from out-of-state. Sets forth other provisions. The bill is in House Rules.

HB4604 (Bryant) adds land and water restoration work due to old coal mines as a priority in funding for monies distributed for abandoned lands. It allows funds to be set aside for acid mine drainage abatement for "hydrologic units" affected by coal mining practices.  The bill is in House Rules.

HB4555 (Harper) requires all tobacco products be sold behind the counter or in glass restricted cases and candy cannot be displayed within five feet of a counter if tobacco products are displayed behind the counter.  This could affect gas station stores and convenience stores.  The bill is in House Rules.

Infrastructure Plan Released
The Administration rolled out its infrastructure plan Monday, calling for $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments - $200 billion of which would come from the federal government through budget cuts. The plan puts the bulk of the spending on state and local governments and private investment.  Of note, the plan calls for changes designed to speed up environmental reviews and permitting.  An effort Congressional Democrats have already announced they are cool to.

Nevertheless, President Trump has previously called for two-year deadline to complete permits - to achieve that, the proposal requires lead agencies to finalized NEPA reviews within 21 months and finish issuing permits three months after that. Other provisions include: allowing agencies to accept money from "non-federal entities" to support NEPA reviews (controls for conflicts of interest apply); eliminating the requirement for the EPA to review, comment on, and rate other agencies' Environmental Impact Statements; require lead agencies to conduct a single review instead of preparing separate NEPA documents, among others.  Before anything can happen, Congress must enact these changes into law. 

Congressional Spending Bill
H.R. 1892, the Bipartisan Spending Bill of 2018, which extends appropriations through March 23, 2018, included some energy tax extenders that were left out of the 2015 deal to phase out wind and solar tax credits.  What's new:
- the bill increases a tax credit for carbon capture and sequestration and enhanced oil recovery, extending it for 12 years;
- reinstates tax credits to promote energy efficiency investments and biofuels production;
- adds biomass geothermal, waste-to-energy and hydro projects to those able to claim the production tax credit for 2017;
- eliminates a 2020 deadline for new nuclear power plants to claim a tax credit (which supports a project in Georgia).
- and reinstates the 9cent-per-barrel tax for the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund that lapsed at the end of last year.
If you haven't already bought your ticket, and you're in town tomorrow - Todd Maisch, President and CEO of the Illinois Chamber, will be speaking at the City Club of Chicago on February 13 at 11:30 a.m. at Maggiano's Banquets in Chicago.  As the leader of Illinois' premier business organization, Todd will provide insight on what we can do to ensure Illinois succeeds, the policy issues that need resolve, and exactly what makes Illinois the envy of the Midwest.

We recognize 2018 as an opportunity to elevate our state's potential and believe that Illinois' economic promise still shines bright.  That is why the Illinois Chamber is rigorously engaged in fighting for economic opportunity and policies that benefit all of Illinois' employers. Register today to get your ticket (or tickets!). We hope to see you there and encourage you to spread the word to fellow business advocates!

2018  BP ENERGY OUTLOOK - February 20th
BP will launch its Energy Outlook on February 20 th.  If you have participated before, you know this is a fantastic snapshot and review that captures the global energy landscape and outlines future energy markets through 2040.  The webcast will be hosted by Bob Dudley, group chief executive, and Spencer Dale, group chief economist.   The 90-minute session begins at 8:30 am CST on Tuesday, February 20th.    Click here to register for the free webcast.

Expect BP's annual Energy Stats Review later this summer.

Pipelines and Power Lines: The Future of U.S. Energy Infrastructure and the Implications for Clean Energy -ENERGY POLICY INSTITUTE AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO (EPIC) - FEBRUARY 21
That's a long header.  Nevertheless, the subject matter seems interesting.  EPIC is hosting a discussion on the future of energy infrastructure - what are the barriers for supporting a robust infrastructure network and what that means for the acceleration of clean energy development. Panelists include Vice President of Public Affairs at Kinder Morgan Allen Fore and former FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff.  The event is at the University of Chicago on February 21 st at 5.30pm. For more information, click here.


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