H.R. 83, To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of action plans aimed at reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes, as amended

H.R. 83

To require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of action plans aimed at reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes, as amended

Sponsor
Rep. Donna Christensen

Date
September 15, 2014 (113th Congress, 2nd Session)

Staff Contact
Communications

Floor Situation

On Monday, September 15, 2014, the House will consider H.R. 83, a bill to require the Secretary of the Interior to assemble a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to address the energy needs of the insular areas of the United States and the Freely Associated States through the development of action plans aimed at reducing reliance on imported fossil fuels and increasing use of indigenous clean-energy resources, and for other purposes, as amended, under a suspension of the rules.  H.R. 83 was introduced on January 3, 2013 by Del. Donna Christensen (D-VI) and referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which ordered the bill reported, as amended, by unanimous consent.

Bill Summary

H.R. 83 requires the Secretary of the Interior to establish a team of technical, policy, and financial experts to: 1) develop energy action plans addressing the immediate, near-term, and long-term energy and environmental needs of each of the insular areas and Freely Associated States; and 2) to assist each of these areas in implementing an energy action plan.  The energy action plan will include: 1) recommendations to promote access to affordable energy, develop indigenous non-fossil fuel resources, and improve energy infrastructure and efficiency; 2) a schedule for the implementation of such recommendations; 3) a financial and engineering plan for implementing and sustaining projects; and 4) benchmarks for measuring progress toward implementation.  Within one year of enactment, the Secretary’s team is required to submit a report detailing its progress (which is  to be updated annually).

Background

The Insular Areas and Freely Associated States include American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau.  These areas generally have few conventional energy resources (and no indigenous fossil fuels).[1]  Additionally, the price of energy is significantly higher in these countries due to their relative isolation.[2]  For example, energy costs are four times higher in the Virgin Islands than in the U.S.[3]  While Congress has taken action in the past to provide assistance to the Insular Areas, they continue to face energy challenges.  This legislation directs the Secretary to develop a team that will be responsible for exploring ways to provide affordable and reliable sources of energy to Insular Areas.

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[1] See Committee Report 113-483
[2] See Id.
[3] See Id.

Cost

CBO estimates that implementing this legislation would cost about $10 million over the 2014-2018 period, assuming appropriation of the necessary amounts.[4]

No additional funds are authorized to be appropriated for the purpose of carrying out this Act, and it shall be carried out using amounts otherwise available.

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[4] http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/hr83.pdf

Additional Information

For questions or further information contact the GOP Conference at 5-5107.