Senators Regroup on Energy and Climate Bills After FAA Reauthorization Exclusion

US Senators regroup on key energy and climate bills after they were excluded from the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. Pending bills on nuclear energy, radiation exposure compensation, and semiconductor permitting remain in limbo as lawmakers explore alternative paths forward.

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Senators Regroup on Energy and Climate Bills After FAA Reauthorization Exclusion

Senators Regroup on Energy and Climate Bills After FAA Reauthorization Exclusion

US Senators are regrouping on key energy and climate legislative priorities after being excluded from the recently passed Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. Several significant bills on nuclear energy, radiation exposure compensation, and semiconductors were left out of the FAA legislation and remain pending.

Why this matters: The fate of these energy and climate bills has significant implications for the country's transition to cleaner energy sources and its ability to address the challenges posed by climate change. The outcome of these legislative efforts will also impact the lives of individuals affected by nuclear contamination and the development of key industries such as semiconductors.

A large package of nuclear legislation aimed at overhauling the sector and streamlining the approval of advanced nuclear reactor projects did not make it into the FAA bill. However, Senators Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Tom Carper (D-DE) expressed optimism that the bill could still be brought to the Senate floor, citing bipartisan support. "I don't know how they're going to tell all of these Americans who have been poisoned by the government that they're not going to get anything, but for what reason? Because the House just doesn't want to do anything," said Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO) regarding the delay of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act reauthorization, which provides compensation to victims exposed to nuclear contamination by the federal government.

Another key bill left out of the FAA reauthorization was legislation by Senators Mark Kelly (D-AZ) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) to streamline the permitting process for semiconductors. Kelly is still seeking other vehicles for the bill, such as the annual defense legislation. "Ultimately, we need legislation. This is the obvious legislation to make sure we can not have these projects be slowed down by NEPA reviews that could take years,"Kelly stated.

Other energy and climate-related amendments that did not make it into the FAA bill included Senator Roger Marshall's (R-KS) measure to support the growth of sustainable aviation fuels. Meanwhile, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Ranking Member John Barrasso (R-WY) expressed skepticism about the prospects of a permitting reform deal moving across the Senate by the end of the year, citing Democratic opposition to reforms that would speed along fossil fuel projects. "It's hard to tell... We need to do it for all energy," Barrasso remarked.

As Senators regroup on their energy and climate priorities, the Biden administration is set to implement new tariffs on a range of Chinese imports, including electric vehicles, solar cells, and batteries, in an effort to counter China's trade practices. The exclusion of key energy and climate bills from the FAA reauthorization has not deterred Senators from continuing to push for their legislative goals. The fate of pending bills on nuclear energy, radiation exposure compensation, and semiconductor permitting remains to be seen as lawmakers explore alternative paths forward.