Casten’s Second Hot FERC Summer Hit: FERCalicious
Washington, DC — Today, U.S. Congressman Sean Casten (D-IL) continued his Hot FERC Summer series with a FERCalicious speech on the House floor and introduced the Right to Timely Rehearings at FERC Act with Rep. Tom Malinowski (D-NJ). Last week, Casten kicked off his effort to demystify FERC’s role in combating climate change with a speech inspired by Megan Thee Stallion’s declaring the start of “Hot FERC Summer” and introducing the Energy Price Act.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is not often in the spotlight, but it is essential in the fight against the climate crisis. Rep. Casten had previously launched the Hot FERC Summer campaign to celebrate the federal energy regulatory body pivotal to achieving our country’s clean energy goals and to highlight the urgent opportunity for President Biden to name a Democratic commissioner, creating a Democratic majority on the Commission for the first time in years.
Casten said, “As climate activist Fergie would say, the FERCalicious definition is to make our planet cooler. Coming home to air conditioning when it’s “hot-hot”? That’s FERCalicious. Cleaner, cheaper electricity for every American? FERCalicious.”
The Right to Timely Rehearings at FERC Act that Congressman Casten introduced today along with Congressman Tom Malinowksi (D-NJ) amends the Federal Power Act by changing the timeline that FERC must respond to requests for rehearing orders on any of its decisions.
“With the hottest June in the United States ever based on over 120 years of records, we have an imperative to do all we can to tackle the climate crisis,” said Rep. Sean Casten. “That starts with cleaning up our electric grid in time to protect Americans from blackouts and ensure they have access to clean, cheap electricity. We have a moment to take scientifically necessary climate action, but we don’t have many moments left.”
The Right to Timely Rehearings at FERC Act was originally introduced after a DC Court of Appeals decision that held that FERC’s current policy of indefinitely delaying requests for rehearing was illegal, and balances giving the Commission enough time to judge requests for rehearing while not robbing citizens of their right to litigate FERC decisions in court after their requests for rehearing are denied. Rep. Malinowski introduced a companion to Casten’s bill today making similar changes to the Natural Gas Act.
Rep. Casten introduced two bills on FERC earlier this year:
H.R. 4556, the Energy Price Act, which Rep. Casten introduced last week with Reps. Mike Levin (D-CA), Jared Huffman (D-CA) and Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) would clarify that for the purposes of the Federal Power Act (which has been law for nearly a century) that any electricity price not accounting for the price of greenhouse gas emissions is ‘unjust, unreasonable, or unduly preferential, or discriminatory’. This isn’t a change of FERC’s authority under the FPA, but mainly a return to form for FERC – court rulings have held that the Commission must ensure protection of the public interest when setting rates, and given the 2009 endangerment finding from the EPA that found that greenhouse gases endanger the public health and welfare, it’s clear that FERC should take into account how a rate accounts for the cost of greenhouse gases when determining if it’s allowable. The bill was introduced last Congress as HR 5742.
HR 2678, the Interregional Transmission Planning Improvement Act , which Rep. Casten introduced this spring with Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-NM) would require FERC to issue a rulemaking on interregional transmission, requiring grid operators to look at interregional solutions, not just intraregional ones, as is often the case today. Interregional transmission will be an incredibly important part of decarbonization – an analysis by Americans for a Clean Energy Grid identified 22 high-voltage transmission projects that could begin construction in the next year that would create up to 240,000 jobs if all built (according to the American Council on Renewable Energy). A version of the bill is included in the CLEAN Futures Act out of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and is also in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources package that was marked up earlier this month that is slated to be included in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework.[bill text]
Full Transcript of Rep. Casten’s Floor Speech is Below:
I rise to continue our celebration of Hot FERC summer.
As climate activist Fergie would certainly say: The FERC-alicious definition is to make our planet cooler.
So listen up y’all - cause this is it. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (or better know as the F to the E- To the R to the C) is one of THE most important federal agencies to fight climate change -- and if I’m doing this right, one that a few more of you are now keeping tabs on.
Having a well-air-conditioned home when it’s “hot-hot”? That’s FERCalicious. Getting your electricity from the lowest cost, reliable source? FERCalicious! An electric transmission system that keeps everything from electric vehicle to steel mills running with zero-carbon electricity? It’s FERCalicious!
With record-setting heatwaves already causing deadly droughts, wildfires, and overwhelmed power grids, we’ve run out the clock and must transition to a clean energy economy - and we desperately need FERC’s help.
So today I’m proud to introduce the Right to Timely Rehearings at FERC Act alongside my friend Rep. Malinowski--a bill to ensure everyone has access to fair and timely hearings at the Commission.
But Congress can’t do this alone. Moving at the pace demanded by the climate crisis will take all hands on deck. And a fully-staffed FERC is going to be critical to that success.
Thank you, and I yield back so I can go work on my fitness.
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