Murkowski Seeks to Clarify FERC/EPA Collaboration on Electric Reliability

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, on Tuesday sent a letter to members of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission seeking clarification on their collaboration with the Environmental Protection Agency on proposed climate, water and other rules that could force the shutdown of the nation’s coal-fired electricity fleet.

“I am deeply concerned about the potential impact these rules may have on the reliability and affordability of our nation’s electricity supply,” Murkowski wrote. “The impact of EPA regulations on electric reliability could be substantial and are of vital importance to the nation.” 

The EPA recently announced it was tightening emission standards for a number of air pollutants that could have dramatic effects on the affordability and reliability of the nation’s electrical grid. 

FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff has publically stated that the commission is investigating the impact these new rules could have on the reliability of the grid. Both EPA and FERC have suggested the creation of a task force to address the reliability issue, however no details have been provided regarding the formation of the task force, its scope, purview or mission.

Murkowski is asking FERC to provide information on the specific actions taken by the commission to protect electric reliability caused by the potential loss of substantial power generation due to EPA’s actions.

“Any collaboration between FERC and EPA on establishing or implementing these rules is of critical interest to myself and the nation,” Murkowski said. “It is fundamental that any efforts by EPA and other agencies to protect electric reliability in the wake of these rules should be open and transparent.”

The letter to FERC is attached.