NGVAmerica reports positive developments in the Congress that are aligned with its Federal Government Advocacy Committee’s strategic plan for 2016. The U.S. House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees have acted on the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Transportation Department (DOT) budgets for FY 2017, respectively.
The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee reported out legislation that includes language that the DOE spend up to $15 million dollars for NGV R&D. This appropriation specifically includes natural gas engine research and development, including energy efficiency improvements, emission after-treatment technologies, fuel system enhancements, new engine development and other activities.
The Senate Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee did not include this recommendation. However, these bills will go to conference and the fact that monies are included in the House version bodes well once the bills are reconciled. Furthermore, both the House and Senate bills included a recommendation for the DOE to spend up to $34 million dollars for deployment activities through the Clean Cities program.
“While significant work still remains ahead, we are encouraged by the positive steps the Congress has taken to advance NGV technology and to further the adoption NGVs,” said NGVAmerica President Matt Godlewski. “Congress clearly recognizes the economic, environmental and energy security benefits of natural gas as a transportation fuel.”
The Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee reported out legislation that includes language that the DOT consider new rules that impact NGVs, including:
- New safety regulations for LNG fuel tanks and fuel systems;
- Revising and updating regulations for CNG cylinders;
- Issuing guidelines to clarify that transit buses can have roof-top mounted CNG cylinders; and
- Clarifying that access to bridges and tunnels for NGVs should not be any more restrictive than those for gasoline and diesel fueled vehicles.
The House Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee must still act on its version of this legislation, and both bills must still get consideration by the full House and Senate. After that, the Appropriations Subcommittees will then be conferencing the two versions of their Appropriations bills to reach an agreement on the money and policy differences between their two respective versions of their Appropriations bills.