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Hickenlooper: ‘FERC Final Rule a Band-Aid on Congress’ Inaction’

May 14, 2024

More Hickenlooper: ‘FERC has done what they can, but Congress has to act’

WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator John Hickenlooper released the following statement after the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released its final rule that attempts to address regional and long-term transmission planning. 

“FERC’s final rule is a band-aid on Congress’ inaction when it comes to addressing our country’s outdated electrical grid.

“We will not be able to power American leadership in AI and the clean energy transition if energy projects are trapped in government red tape for decades.

“The BIG WIRES Act and SPEED & Reliability Act would both do far more to reform the permitting process and power America with abundant, reliable, and affordable energy. FERC has done what they can, but Congress has to act.” 

The final rule adopts specific requirements for transmission providers to conduct long-term planning for regional transmission facilities and determine how to pay for them. The rule requires transmission operators to conduct and periodically update long-term transmission planning over a 20-year time horizon to anticipate future needs. However, the rule fails to sufficiently address permitting delays and interregional transmission buildout.

Hickenlooper has introduced two bills that would contribute to comprehensive permitting reform. The first, Hickenlooper’s SPEED & Reliability Act, would reduce duplicative environmental reviews for national interest transmission lines and allow state and federal reviews to happen simultaneously. The second, Hickenlooper’s BIG WIRES Act, streamlines the country’s patchwork energy transmission system by directing FERC to better coordinate construction of an interregional transmission system.


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