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NDAA energy items to watch

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Jun 11, 2024
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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Debate about permitting for semiconductor projects and advanced nuclear legislation is likely to return as lawmakers start on this year's defense bill.

Why it matters: The NDAA will be fertile ground for riders as one of the few remaining must-pass bills. It could also carry provisions worth watching for the battery and mining industries.

  • The House plans to vote this week on its version, while the Senate starts closed-door committee markups.

Here's what we're watching …

💻 1. CHIPS fight returns: Legislation to create NEPA exclusions for CHIPS Act-funded projects will again be in the mix. Proponents have worried that permitting might hold up financing key to President Biden's energy, tech and national security ambitions.

  • Rep. Jen Kiggans and others proposed it as an amendment in the House (the Rules Committee is still determining which ones will make it to the floor).
  • Sen. Mark Kelly told Axios he and Ted Cruz may take another crack at it: "Certainly there is an intersection between the CHIPS NEPA reform and our national security, so that's something we'll be looking at."

🚲 2. More riders: If the Senate can't move the ADVANCE Act by unanimous consent, expect it to show up in the NDAA.

  • We may also see an attempt to reauthorize CFATS, the chemical safety program that's been lapsed for nearly a year. A bipartisan House group has proposed that as an amendment.

🔋 3. Battery focus: Watch for measures to bolster U.S. domestic production of batteries and their component minerals.

  • The House base text would require the Defense Department to start sourcing lithium-ion batteries from the U.S. and allied nations — with minimal materials and without technology licensed from so-called foreign entities of concern.
  • The committee report, meanwhile, asks for "a plan for onshoring" the graphite supplies needed for those batteries.
  • Altogether, it's an attempt to shut dominant Chinese battery suppliers out of Pentagon supply chains and bolster the Biden administration's efforts to onshore them via the Defense Production Act.

ğŸŒŽ 4. Climate disclosure rehash: The House bill would revive a running fight about climate emissions disclosures.

  • It would extend for five years a provision from last year's bill blocking emissions disclosure requirements for DOD contractors.
  • Dems are hoping to get it struck from the bill, though they're unlikely to succeed on the floor.

What we're watching: Other items are in the mix, like a GOP attempt to block the LNG export permits pause and dozens of proposed amendments on advanced nuclear tech.

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