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Lawmakers tell regulators to oppose Perry energy plan

Lawmakers tell regulators to oppose Perry energy plan
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Several House lawmakers, including a Republican, are urging regulators to ignore Energy Secretary Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryOvernight Energy: Feds sued over fracking rule repeal | Perry says US ‘blessed’ with fossil fuels | Park Service gets new acting director Rick Perry: US 'blessed' to provide fossil fuels to the world New DOE competition aims to jump-start US solar manufacturing MORE’s plan to overhaul the electricity sector.

In comments published by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Monday, the House members came out against Perry’s proposal to prop up coal and nuclear plants through higher payments for the power they generate. The proposal is designed to boost the reliability and resilience of the electric grid by supporting traditional sources of large amounts of electricity.

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In one comment, Reps. Pete Olson (R-Texas) and Bobby Rush (D-Ill.) told the FERC the 60-day timeline they have for ruling on the proposal is too short for an issue as “remarkably complex” as electricity sector payments.

“We do believe that a renewed focus is needed on this issue, and we have been heartened by your outspoken interest in the matter,” the pair — the vice chair and ranking member of the Energy and Commerce Committee's energy subpanel — wrote.

“We ask you to continue addressing this matter through existing proceedings at the federal and regional level rather than quickly moving to make a sweeping, top-down decision in the near-term.”

In a second letter, 14 Democrats said Perry’s proposal dismisses the role renewable power plays in supporting the reliability of the electric grid.

“Actions to reduce carbon emissions are intimately linked with actions to increase resilience because reducing carbon emissions in the near-term can prevent the worst impacts of climate change change in the future,” they wrote.

Perry’s plan has support from the coal sector and some in the nuclear industry, both of whom say the proposal would compensate power plants that they argue should paid more for their electricity. But lawmakers slammed the proposal when Perry testified on the issue before the Energy and Commerce Committee last month.

Comments on the proposal are due to FERC this week and the commission is scheduled to take action on the issue in early December.