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Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Leads 17-State Coalition Fighting Federal Energy Power Grab

Texas Attorney General (AG) Ken Paxton is leading a coalition of 17 state attorneys general who sent a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), pushing back against the agencies proposed rule granting increased electrical grid oversight to itself.

In his press release, Paxton states that the proposed rule would compromise the ability of states to determine the most efficient mix of energy sources for their own electrical grids.

Paxton says the new rule will also force states to cover the costs of expensive regional transmission lines to support so-called “green” energy generation, even when such expenditures contradict a state or group of state’s needs and decrease grid efficiency and reliability.

The proposal will also grant FERC the authority to layout and approve expansions of the electrical grid, regardless of states’ needs, desires, and traditional authority to make such decisions on their own.

Federalizing Grid Oversite

FERC’s proposal is nothing more than a federal power grab that would diminish the power of the states to control their own energy grids, says H. Sterling Burnett, Ph.D., and director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute.

“The federal government has no role in telling states what sources of power they should be using, and how their electrical grids should be run,” Burnett said. “Texas has its own grid system that’s not connected with regional systems, but several states that are part of the regional systems have joined with AG Paxton.”

“This is the Biden administration’s attempt to socialize the electrical grid,” Burnett said. “The administration wants a lot of wind and solar energy built out, but it has to be built in places far away from where the power is needed, meaning it will likely be built in so-called flyover country, allowing the administration to run wires to places like New York, Massachusetts, and California… basically places that are thousands of miles away.”

Expanding the grid will also be very costly, says Burnett.

“The Biden administration wants to give the federal government the power to say where the corridors will be built, who has to give up land for these corridors, and how much they’re paid for it,” Burnett says. “Then they want to pass the costs on to rate payers who aren’t even in the states using the energy; they want people in the Midwest to pay for power going to the Northeast.”

Proposal is Unconstitutional

The Biden administration may run afoul of the Constitution on this issue, says Gary Stone, vice president of engineering with Five States Energy Company.

“The powers given to the Federal government in the Constitution are few and well defined: provide for a national defense, conduct foreign policy and to regulate international commerce,” Stone said. “The Federal government can finance its operation, through taxes, and it can also create a federal court system and control immigration, despite current examples.”

“Powers not granted to the Federal government are reserved for the states,” Stone said. “James Madison, the ‘Father of the Constitution’ wrote, ‘[T]he powers reserved to the several States will extend to all the objects which, in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, improvement, and prosperity of the State,’” Stone said.

FERC does not have the authority to force states to adopt certain types of power, like wind or solar, for example, build unnecessary and expensive large-scale transmission lines to service the “green” power, or to force citizens to pay for it, says Stone.

“States should determine what power they need, who will pay for it, and how they will most efficiently get that power to the people of their state,” Stone said. “Like the proverbial camel’s nose inside the tent, to grant FERC more authority over the states means the states will never get that control back.”

Furthermore, “green” energy such as wind and solar is being forced on Americans at great cost, in terms of dollars and human lives, as the great winter storm of 2021 showed, it doesn’t provide power on a consistent basis – and that can be deadly,” Stone said. “Traditional energy sources – most notably, coal and natural gas – have shown to be clean, abundant, highly reliable in both production and delivery, and relatively cheap. Each state should regulate its own energy and have the freedom to purchase it from surrounding states when necessary.” 

Kenneth Artz (KApublishing@gmx.com) writes from Dallas, Texas.

For more on electric power transmission, click here.

For more on FERC, click here.

 

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Kenneth Artz
Kenneth Artzhttps://www.heartland.org/about-us/who-we-are/kenneth-artz
Artz has more than 20 years’ experience in nonprofit organizations, publishing, newspaper reporting, and public policy advocacy.

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