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Senate Energy Bill Would Move Northwest Projects Forward

<p>Mount Hood in 2009</p>
<p>Mount Hood in 2009</p>

The U.S. Senate passed energy legislation Wednesday with a host of provisions important for the Pacific Northwest. This is the first time in nearly a decade an energy bill of this scale has passed from one house of Congress to the other.

Provisions in the Energy Policy Modernization Act would:

- Speed up a long-awaited land swap near Mount Hood.

- Provide subsidies for Klamath basin farmers. This is connected to a larger non-legislative deal to remove four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River in Oregon and California.

- Provide water certainty and fish restoration in Washington's Yakima Basin.

- Boost geothermal, biomass and ocean energy development – all of which could have significant futures in the Pacific Northwest.

- Expedite federal permitting for liquefied natural gas export facilities.

- Permanently reauthorizes the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which uses offshore oil and gas royalties to fund local, state and federal conservation projects.

The bill has already been garnering criticism for not doing more to address climate change.

The Senate version still has to be reconciled with a House bill before heading to the president for his signature.

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