US Congress members Maloney and Gibson pass bill to reign in FERC bureaucracy

CLP wants to congratulate and thank U.S. Representatives Maloney and Gibson for their work at the federal level to stop the new capacity zone (NCZ). Their bill has passed overwhelmingly in the House!  (See the press release from their offices, below.)

House Passes Legislation with Maloney-Gibson Amendment To Rein in FERC Bureaucracy

Amendment Limits Implementation and Enforcement of New Capacity Zone in Hudson Valley

Secures Report Language to Reform FERC Decision Making Process

Washington, D.C –  By a vote to 253-170, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, which included Representative Sean Patrick Maloney’s (NY-18) and Rep. Chris Gibson’s (NY-19) joint amendment to prohibit funds from enforcing the new capacity zone. Specifically, the amendment prohibits FERC from implementing, administering, or enforcing the new capacity zone under Docket No. ER13–1380–000. You can also view the amendment here.

“Stopping this new capacity zone has been a top priority because ratepayers are already hurting - I’ve never seen an agency so unaccountable or encountered bureaucrats so callous to the damage they could inflict on hardworking families and businesses,” said Sean Patrick Maloney. “Congressman Gibson and local officials like County Executive Molinaro have been a tremendous partners in fighting this runaway bureaucracy, and we’ll continue working together to reverse this reckless decision.”   

“We will not relent in our efforts to prevent this agency from doing further damage to the families and the economy of the Hudson Valley, where people are already struggling to make ends meet because they are saddled with huge electric bills,” said Congressman Gibson. “We need to hold FERC accountable to the citizens it represents. Federal regulators can do a far better job finding ways to improve our energy infrastructure. We must reject the premise that the only way to lower electric rates is to raise them.”

“FERC is seemingly unaccountable to anyone. With this adopted amendment, Congressmen Maloney and Gibson have called FERC to the carpet and rightfully so. Dutchess County will keep up our fight to force FERC to rescind their rate increase on the people, families and businesses of the Hudson Valley and reform their operating procedures and processes to allow for transparency and public input.  Our voices are being heard and we now turn to the US Senate for the same help. In this country, no government entity can be allowed to inflict such damage and totally disregard the people it is to serve - we will keep up our fight,” said Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro.

“On behalf of the business community, we applaud the tenacity of U.S. Reps. Sean Patrick Maloney and Chris Gibson, as well as Dutchess County Executive Marcus Molinaro, in working to stop the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s new capacity zone,” said Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Charles S. North. “The fact that this commission can institute this zone, which is forcing our businesses and residents to pay even more for their electricity, without listening to public comment, is deplorable. Our federal government should be doing everything in its power to help stimulate the economy and make it easier for hard-working employers to do business and raise their families in our region, not saddle them with undue burden. We will support all continued efforts to prevent FERC from moving forward with this misguided plan.”

"We applaud the leadership of our federal representatives," said Jen Metzger of the Hudson Valley-based Citizens for Local Power. "This new zone unfairly and unnecessarily burdens our communities by raising energy prices at the same time as it brings back dirty fossil fuel generation to our region.  We urge the Senate to follow suit and overturn the new capacity zone immediately. "

You can view Rep. Maloney and Rep. Gibson’s remarks on the House Floor here:

In addition, Maloney and Gibson fought to secure specific language in the report for the FY 2015 Energy and Water Appropriations Bill that requires FERC to reexamine and reform the way that they conduct this type of decision-making to ensure that the Commissioners hear and consider the concerns of local ratepayers. The Report states: “The Committee urges the Commission to be more proactive in addressing the concerns of ratepayers. In particular, when the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission considers a request for approval of a new capacity zone, the Committee expects the views of local and state officials, regulators, and business leaders to be taken into account during the process. Further, the Committee also expects that the process will include considerations such as costs to ratepayers in addition to electrical reliability and availability.”

You can view Mr. Maloney’s colloquy with Chairman Mike Simpson and Ranking Member Marcy Kaptur on reforming FERC’s decision making here:

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