The transmission zombie created in the Dick Cheney/Kenny Lay secret energy task force has reared its ugly head once again. Something called the Bipartisan Policy Center has cranked out another report pushing total federal control of the US transmission grid and advocating new federal laws to do away with existing state and federal processes for assessing the impacts of new transmission lines.
This junk policy has been overtaken by reality over the last ten years, and is just as inaccurate as it was back then. Yet we still see the same old recycled garbage:
Finding: When transmission lines cross federal lands, or otherwise trigger the need for federal approval, inefficiencies in the federal review process can dramatically compound delays and increase overall project costs. While recent steps have been taken to improve coordination between federal agencies,additional reforms are needed.
State law governing siting and an emphasis on state specific interests may impede or delay the construction of long distance high-voltage interstate transmission lines with broad regional benefits. This siting challenge may be particularly pronounced for high-voltage direct current (HVDC) lines, which may not connect to the grid in intermediate states throughwhich they pass.
This is such patent bullsh*t (sorry, I can think of no more accurate word) that I won’t even bother to provide links to my past posts refuting this crap. States have not delayed any HV transmission projects, and, far from delaying projects, the Obama administration has cut secret deals to ramrod the S-R line into existence in Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area.
Keryn beat me to this story earlier today with a very detailed post. And she dissects the report with her usual incisive wit. Note that the one new feature of this retreaded Cheney baloney is open support from the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Big Enviro group based in DC. Shame on NRDC.
The National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners, NARUC, the national association of state PSCs, was listed on the report as a contributor, but NARUC issued a press release stating:
“NARUC strongly opposes the recommendations calling for the expansion of the federal government’s authority to site transmission facilities. The report recommends that Congress give federal regulators permission to overrule a legitimate State decision determining that a power line is unnecessary if a nearby State with different needs and resources says that it is. Essentially this policy would give one State de-facto siting authority over another, which is certainly against congressional intent. Moreover, where current law limits the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s backstop authority to power lines in so-called ‘National Interest Electricity Transmission Corridors,’ the report recommends greatly expanding FERC’s authority nationwide. Therefore, this recommendation abandons the existing law’s goal of improving the efficiency of the transmission network by reducing congestion in favor of policies that increase rates for retail customers who receive little or no benefits, without necessary and proper oversight by the States.
The NARUC members that site new transmission lines have authorized significant new investment; indeed there remains little evidence that a failure to ‘update the grid’ is widespread or attributable to State recalcitrance sufficient to justify the kind of sweeping new legislation that this report recommends.
NARUC’s opposition to this specific recommendation is consistent with its previous positions regarding State authority to site transmission lines.”
Nice to see state regulators standing up for the rest of us against the new Cheney transmission attack.