By Jon Styf [The Center Square] and The Tennessee Conservative Staff –
Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti has joined a coalition of 18 states opposing the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022. The state chief legal officers say the proposed legislation is a back-door attempt to impose the failed Clean Power Plan.
In a letter to Senate Leadership, the attorneys general say the Act will “allow the restriction of the electric grid by abrogating states’ traditional authority to set their own resource and utility policies, and upset the careful balance of states and federal authority that has been a cornerstone of the Federal Power Act (FPA) for nearly a century.”
“This legislation threatens Tennessee’s continued access to affordable, reliable, resilient power,” said General Jonathan Skrmetti. “I fear that if this passes, California’s power grid problems will become our power grid problems.”
In the letter, the attorneys general argue the Act would eviscerate states’ ability to chart their own land-use and energy policies through the following provisions:
• The Act would authorize private companies to use eminent domain against state land.
• It would authorize the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to command utilities to construct entirely new transmission facilities whenever and wherever FERC deems necessary.
• It would authorize companies to spread costs of constructing new transmission facilities onto residents of other states, requiring citizens of one state to subsidize the agenda of citizens in other states.
The following states joined the letter led by Louisiana: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Virginia, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
The 18-state coalition is led by Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry, who stated, “The Biden Administration and its allies in Congress are attempting to not only force unreliable renewables on hard-working Americans, but also turn those consumers into bigger pawns of the green energy industry. The DC elites, in a rushed process, want to restrict the electric power grid by repealing the traditional authority of the states to regulate their own resources and utility policies.”
U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, introduced the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2022 last week, and the “comprehensive permitting reform” is included in a Continuing Resolution to avoid an Oct. 1 government shutdown.
The bill is part of a deal between Manchin, Senate Leader Chuck Schumer, D-NY, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and President Joe Biden to gain Manchin’s support for the Inflation Reduction Act approved by Congress in August.
Manchin contends the legislation is necessary to reduce costs for energy projects, though the legislation faces opposition from both Republicans and Democrats.