Infrastructure Bill Passes: Positive Outcomes for Natural Gas Customers and Communities
Washington, D.C. -Last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill 228-203. The bill now is now headed to President Biden’s desk for signature.
“This bill includes a number of provisions that AGA supported which will benefit natural gas customers,” said Karen Harbert, AGA President and CEO. “This infrastructure package will expand our industry’s ability to make sure all customers continue to have access to safe, reliable and affordable energy while reducing emissions.”
Important provisions in the bill include:
- Energy Efficiency Revolving Loan Fund Capitalization Grant Program: Includes funds to increase energy efficiency by leveraging high-efficient systems which use natural gas and hydrogen.
- Cost-Effective Codes Implementation for Efficiency and Resilience: Directs that building codes take a holistic and equitable approach measuring building energy savings rather than just measuring the energy used on site.
- Hydrogen Research and Development: Includes research and development related to hydrogen for end-use, including commercial and residential heating, transportation, storage, the safe and efficient delivery of hydrogen using pipelines, and hydrogen hubs
- Grants for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure: Establishes a grant program to strategically deploy publicly accessible electric vehicle charging infrastructure, hydrogen fueling infrastructure, propane fueling infrastructure, and natural gas fueling infrastructure along designated alternative fuel corridors or in locations accessible to all drivers of electric, hydrogen, propane, and natural gas vehicles.
- Energy Cyber Sense Program: Creates a voluntary U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program to help examine cybersecurity technologies intended for use in the energy sector.
- Enhanced Grid Security: Directs DOE to operate an energy sector cybersecurity research, development and deployment program and an advanced program to secure energy networks against natural and man-made hazards.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance (LIHEAP): Allocates an additional $500 million over 5 years to the LIHEAP program.
The House also moved the procedural rule for the parameters of floor debate on the Build Back Better Act (BBB), leaving that for further advancement.
Harbert continued: “The BBB Act still contains provisions that would negatively impact customers and communities, especially the costly natural gas tax and the misnamed Zero-Emissions Homes Act. The natural gas tax would increase energy bills for families by at least 12 percent while increasing energy imports from foreign countries and providing little to no environmental benefit. The Zero-Emissions Homes Act will limit homeowners’ choices to only install electric appliances with all taxpayers footing the bill regardless of whether that equipment will actually reduce emissions. These short-sighted policies ignore the benefits that affordable and clean natural gas has brought and continues to bring to our nation. We will vigorously advocate on behalf of the 180 million Americans who depend on natural gas to have these provisions eliminated from the final legislation.”
The American Gas Association, founded in 1918, represents more than 200 local energy companies that deliver clean natural gas throughout the United States. There are more than 76 million residential, commercial and industrial natural gas customers in the U.S., of which 95 percent — more than 72 million customers — receive their gas from AGA members. Today, natural gas meets more than thirty percent of the United States' energy needs.