How A Divided Congress Continues To Affect Energy Policy

  December 29, 2014

Today's tip of the day is about how a divided Congress continues to affect energy policy in the U.S.

Nowhere is that gridlock more evident than in energy policy. You may remember in May, 2014, the bipartisan, universally liked Shaheen-Portman bill (official title: Energy Savings and Industrial Competitiveness Act of 2014) failed to get the 60 votes required to override a Republican filibuster. And so the bill died a sad, if somewhat predictable, death.

The bill would’ve increased efficiency standards in buildings, required federal buildings to report energy use via Energy Star, and provided funding for a variety of energy efficiency initiatives. However, the two issues that killed the bill were the Keystone XL pipeline and new EPA regulations on coal-fired power plants — neither of which were actually part of the bill itself.

Even so, EPA regulations do have huge implications for facility managers, as the EPA regulations have been upheld by the courts at both the state and federal levels. Chances are, rates are going to rise, and the better informed you are about how much, the better you’ll be able to plan.

Of course, the best way to insulate yourself from rising electricity rates is to use less electricity — which makes the fact that the Senate couldn't pass a bill focused on efficiency even more of a head-scratcher. But then again, most of us would probably agree that not much Congress has done (and Congress certainly has done not much!) in the last several years has really been a paragon of reasonableness and common sense. Maybe that'll change with today's election. Likely (and sadly) it won't.


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