On February 4, major bipartisan energy legislation, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, failed to pass a key procedural hurdle in the U.S. Senate. After days of intense floor discussion and votes on a handful of amendments, Senate Democrats voted against ending debate on the bill and moving forward with a vote over concerns that the bill did not do enough to assist the city of Flint, Michigan, during its water crisis.
The bill, with BOMA-supported measures, seeks to upgrade the U.S. electrical grid and boost energy efficiency without creating costly mandates for building owners. The legislation directs the U.S. Department of Energy to formulate voluntary standards and work with stakeholders to find ways to implement energy efficiency provisions into the codes. The bill also directs funds to be made available for grants for energy efficiency projects.
On February 24, it appeared likely that the Senate would come to an agreement on providing assistance to Flint, clearing the way for floor debate on the bill to resume next week. During a meeting with BOMA International and other industry groups, the bill's sponsor predicted that the measure would pass and promised to work with the commercial real estate industry to help improve the bill even further when it goes to conference with its House-passed counterpart.