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Introduction > Current Materials > 7. Codification of the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy

7. Codification of the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy

1105268-2 : n : 12/16/2008 : MCS / tj LRS2008-4812

SYNOPSIS: This bill would create the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy as currently constituted pursuant to Act 2007-150, HJR 152, 2007 Regular Session.

The bill would provide for the hiring of a staff and the creation of the Legislative Energy Policy Office to supervise and administer the duties of the committee pursuant to this bill.

A BILL

TO BE ENTITLED

AN ACT

Relating to the development of an integrated and comprehensive state policy on energy for Alabama; to create the Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy for the purpose of developing an ongoing state energy study and energy plan; to provide for the membership of the committee and the initial committee membership as organized pursuant to Act 2007-150, HJR 152, 2007 Regular Session; to provide specific duties of the committee relating to the formulation of the ongoing state energy plan; to provide for the hiring of a staff and the creation of the Legislative Energy Policy Office to supervise and administer the duties of the committee; to provide for the formation, duties, and reporting of advisory subcommittees; to provide for legislative assistance for the committee and reimbursement of committee and subcommittee meeting expenses; and to provide for specific goals and objectives of the committee and for the reporting of recommendations.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF ALABAMA:

Section 1. The Legislature makes the following findings and statements:

(1) The reduction of the dependence on foreign oil is necessary to preserve and protect our national security.

(2) Reliable, plentiful, and affordable energy and the effective distribution of energy are vital to the support and growth of all sectors of Alabama's economy.

(3) The future energy needs of the state also present unique opportunities to diversify the state's energy supply and provide new opportunities for agriculturally based products and Alabama based clean energy technologies.

(4) Energy derived from agriculturally and forest based products offers the potential to expand rural and economic development in Alabama.

(5) Increasing the efficiency of existing technology combined with the development of new technologies, including coal gasification, coal liquification, advanced coal-based generation, and nuclear power, should be encouraged as ways of producing more energy with reduced emissions.

(6) An integrated and comprehensive state policy on energy is absolutely necessary to identify, address, and provide for the future energy needs of the state.

Section 2. The Permanent Joint Legislative Committee on Energy Policy is created for the purpose of developing the Alabama Energy Plan to recommend to the Governor and the Legislature courses of action to address the state's long-term and short-term energy challenges.

Section 3. (a) The committee shall be composed of the following members:

(1) The Chair of the House Committee on Agriculture and Forestry.

(2) The Chair of the House Commerce Committee.

(3) The Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.

(4) The Chair of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Transportation, and Utilities.

(5) The Chair of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.

(6) Five members of the Houses of Representatives appointed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, all of whom shall be appointees from the House of Representatives to the Energy Council.

(7) Two members of the Senate appointed by the Lieutenant Governor, both of whom shall be appointees from the Senate to the Energy Council.

(8) Two members of the Senate appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, both of whom shall be appointees from the Senate to the Energy Council.

(b) To the extent possible, members of the committee shall reflect the racial, ethnic, gender, geographic, urban/rural, and economic diversity of the state.

(c) The committee shall meet at the call of the chair or a majority of the members thereof; provided, that the committee shall meet at least once each four months.

(d) The committee may meet, act, and conduct its business at any place within this state during the sessions of the Legislature or any recess thereof, and in the interim period between sessions.

(e) Terms of service on the committee shall coincide with the elected terms of the serving members. The initial members appointed pursuant to Act 2007-150, HJR 152, 2007 Regular Session, shall continue to serve as appointed pursuant to the act provided the member is qualified under subsection (a).

(f) Beginning in January 2009, to serve in 2009 and 2010 and each 2 years thereafter, the committee shall elect from among its members a chair and a vice chair.

Section 4. (a) With the assistance of the director and staff of the Legislative Energy Policy Office, the committee shall make a continuous study of the energy supply for the state and make recommendations for legislation and initiatives that will create the necessary institutional and regulatory changes to accomplish the overall goals and objectives of the Alabama Energy Plan in a manner that benefits the economy and protects the environment.

(b) The Alabama Energy Plan shall be designed to achieve the following goals and objectives:

(1) The expansion of diverse sources of fuels to be used to meet Alabama's current and future energy needs through each of the following methods:

a. Encouraging a diverse fuel mix among electric supply generation that promotes reliability and minimizes negative impacts that would result from electric power shortages.

b. Promoting the production and use of bioenergy and clean alternative energy, including coal gasification and liquification, advanced coal-based generation, and nuclear power.

c. Promoting the production and use of bioenergy from agriculturally and forest based products.

d. Broadening the diversity and decreasing the negative environmental impact of fuels that meet Alabama's transportation needs.

e. Expanding electric generation infrastructure utilizing clean distributed energy resources, including, but not limited to, natural gas, propane, fuel cells, micro-turbines, combined heat and power and wind energy to the extent that these technologies provide cost effective and reliable energy sources.

(2) The development of conservation programs through each of the following methods:

a. Identifying and promoting proven fuel and oil conservation technologies that improve fuel efficiencies in private fleets and state fleets.

b. Identifying and promoting business and residential energy use reduction opportunities.

c. Increasing the usage of energy efficient products and clean energy sources through the state procurement process.

(3) Incorporating energy efficiency and conservation into the design and operation of state buildings.

(4) Encouraging producers of clean energy technologies and producers of energy efficient products to locate their business operations in Alabama, through each of the following methods:

a. Expanding the market for renewable and alternative energy technologies in Alabama.

b. Increasing the number of producers and developers of clean energy technologies located in Alabama.

c. Adopting incentives for new and existing facilities in Alabama that produce energy from alternative and renewable resources.

(c) The Alabama Energy Plan shall include the following for each goal and objective:

(1) An identification of actions already in process.

(2) A prioritized list of recommended non-legislative action items.

(3) Recommended legislative proposals.

(4) An identification of areas on which further evaluation or research is recommended.

(d) The committee shall submit its recommendations by the fifth legislative day of the 2010 Regular Session and each regular session thereafter. The committee may make additional recommendations and submit studies and reports to the Legislature at any time.

(e) The committee is authorized to receive federal and private grants, gifts, appropriations, and other public and private funds related to energy policies and initiatives.

(f) The committee may employ a director and provide for a Legislative Energy Policy Office. The director shall serve at the pleasure of the committee and shall be responsible directly to the committee for the general supervision and execution of the work of the committee. The committee shall fix the compensation of the director and staff. Compensation for the director and staff shall be paid from funds appropriated to the committee for that purpose. The committee shall further designate the duties of the director and staff.

(g) The committee may maintain an office facility in a location in Montgomery, Alabama, for the use of the director and staff of the Legislative Energy Policy Office and may acquire furniture, equipment, and supplies needed for the operation of the office.

(h) The committee may employ personnel to staff the Legislative Energy Policy Office and may enter contracts for services needed by the committee. Personnel and contracted service providers and consultants may include, but not be limited to, technical advisors on such issues as alternative energy technology, renewable energy technology, engineering, environmental technology, and energy conservation, as well as administrative, supervisory, and professional personnel as necessary to carry out the goals, objectives, and duties of the committee and the office.

Section 5. (a) The chair and vice chair of the committee shall jointly create and appoint members to advisory subcommittees, as provided in subsection (b), which shall include members of the committee, representatives from governmental agencies, and members of the public with interest and expertise in the objectives of the committee. The Commissioner of the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries, or his or her designee, shall be a member of each advisory subcommittee created. Each advisory subcommittee shall be cochaired by one legislative member of the advisory committee and one private sector member or governmental entity member having significant knowledge, experience, and expertise in the subject or subjects the subcommittee is responsible for studying. The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs may make recommendations to the chair and vice chair of the committee for the appointment of members to each advisory subcommittee.

(b) The advisory subcommittees of the committee shall be as follows:

(1) Biofuels and Alternative Fuels Subcommittee.

(2) Efficiency and Conservation Subcommittee.

(3) Environmental Issues Subcommittee.

(4) Infrastructure and Expansion Subcommittee.

(5) Renewal Power and Electric Generation Subcommittee.

(6) Research and Development Subcommittee.

(7) Technology and Communications Subcommittee.

Section 6. The Secretary of the Senate, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, and the advisory subcommittees created herein shall provide any assistance as may be necessary at the committee's request. Each legislative member of the committee and each legislative member of a subcommittee shall be entitled to his or her regular legislative compensation, his or her per diem, and travel expenses for each day he or she attends a meeting of the committee or a subcommittee which shall be paid out of any funds appropriated for the use of the Legislature upon warrants drawn by the state Comptroller, upon requisitions signed by the committee's chair; provided however, that legislative members shall not receive additional legislative compensation or per diem when the Legislature is in session or if a member is being paid any other payments on the same dates for attendance on other state business. Each non-legislative member of the committee and subcommittees may be reimbursed for expenses of attending meetings of the committee and subcommittees in accordance with the policies of the respective group or organization the member represents.

Section 7. Annual expenses and compensation of the committee from state funds shall not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) per fiscal year.

Section 8. This act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its passage and approval by the Governor, or its otherwise becoming law.