Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) released the following statement after the Committee advanced two energy bills to the full House of Representatives:
“The Energy and Commerce Committee passed two important pieces of legislation today to expand access to sustainable energy and reform the Department of Energy’s management and personnel practices. I’m especially proud of my bipartisan bill with Ranking Member Walden to improve DOE management and clarify that National Nuclear Security Administration personnel are subject to the authority and direction of the Secretary of Energy. I thank all my fellow sponsors of these bills for their bipartisan work and look forward to seeing them considered by the full House soon.”
H.R. 4447, the “Expanding Access to Sustainable Energy Act of 2019,” which was introduced by Reps. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ) and Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), establishes an energy storage and microgrid grant and technical assistance program at the Department of Energy (DOE). The program would provide grants and technical assistance to a rural electric cooperative or non-profit entity, working with at least six rural electric cooperatives, to assist with designing and demonstrating energy storage and microgrid projects that utilize energy from renewable energy sources. The bill authorizes $5 million annually for the program from Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 through 2025. The bill was passed, as amended, by voice vote.
H.R. 8159, the “Department of Energy Organization and Management Improvement Act,” which was introduced by Ranking Member Greg Walden (R-OR) and Chairman Pallone, requires the Secretary of Energy to review and report periodically on measures and recommendations to improve general management of DOE, and to implement reforms to ensure continuous improvement in management. The bill also amends Section 3220 of the National Nuclear Security Administration Act, which delineates the status of National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) personnel and independent contract personnel employed by or contracting with NNSA. The bill clarifies that NNSA officers and employees shall be responsible to and subject to the authority, direction and control of the Secretary of Energy. It further strikes a provision from Section 3220 barring DOE personnel other than the Secretary from exercising authority, direction or control over personnel employed by or contracting with NNSA. The bill was passed by voice vote.
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