These guys are a riot. Look at how DoE framed their rejection of Kelliher/Wellinghoff:
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today his decision that the Department of Energy will work more closely with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in reviewing proposed electric transmission projects under section 216 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), as an alternative to delegating additional authority to FERC.
“Work more closely”? The Federal Power Act (also called the Energy Policy Act) of 2005 already requires the agencies to work together. Spin, spin, spin.
Here are the rather ominous points on which the agencies will be “working more closely”:
- Begin immediately to identify targeted areas of congestion based on the evaluation of existing information and on comments submitted by stakeholders;
- Identify narrower areas of congestion than the broad areas previously studied; and
- Solicit statements of interest from transmission developers while considering what National Corridors to designate.
See that last point? This approaches the really bad idea from Kelliher/Wellinghoff that transmission line developers would dictate where National Impact Electrical Transmission Corridors (not “National Corridors” as the DoE press release calls them) would be designated.
In fact, apart from the rejection of Kelliher and Wellinghoff, there is nothing new in this press release. Everything in the press release was ordered by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in their decision last February which struck down the old NIETC system. The Ninth Circuit ruled that the old system (1) failed to provide legally adequate involvement from state governments and (2) failed to comply with the federal requirement that each NIETC should have an Environmental Impact Statement prepared under existing federal law. Note that DoE’s press release doesn’t even include the word “state”.
The announcement last week of the Obama ramrod plan was a sure indication that the administration had chosen the RRTT sledgehammer over the Kelliher/Wellinghoff dagger to pound states and citizens into submission to prepare the way for new transmission lines. We’ll see how that one works out.