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Attorney General William Tong

10/29/2019

ATTORNEY GENERAL TONG, COALITION URGES FEDERAL COOPERATION WITH STATES ON CLEAN ENERGY GOALS

AGs Argue that Combatting the Climate Crisis Requires Collaboration with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

(Hartford, CT) -- Attorney General William Tong this week joined a coalition of 11 attorneys general in calling on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to recognize and consider the states’ shared priority of transitioning to a cleaner energy system and to adopt policies and take actions that aid in that effort.

"Connecticut has committed to a carbon free electric grid by 2040, but we can't get there with FERC tying our hands. FERC's markets actively suppress investment in renewable generation at a time when we need to be doing everything we can to expedite this transition. We can no longer afford to ignore the real and increasing costs of climate change when evaluating new energy infrastructure. FERC needs to be a partner, not a barrier to progress," said Attorney General Tong.

In a letter sent to FERC commissioners Monday, the coalition asserts that the states have adopted important policies to address the massive health, economic, and environmental harms caused by the climate crisis. These policies not only require reductions in climate-warming greenhouse gas emissions, but will also enhance electric grid reliability and security, lower costs, improve air quality, and assist markets in maintaining adequate resources at just and reasonable rates. As the letter notes, however, FERC’s actions and decisions can significantly impact the states’ abilities to meet their climate and clean energy goals.

“Decisions made today will shape the electricity system for decades to come,” the coalition wrote. “Now, more than ever, it is essential for the states and the Commission to work together to ensure that the Commission’s actions advance, not impede, state policies and prerogatives.”

The attorneys general specifically call on FERC to consider:

• Promoting market design choices that appropriately recognize the rights of states under federal law to grow their clean energy resources;
• Assisting states in procuring the lowest-cost options for meeting electricity needs by eliminating barriers to competition for renewable energy generators, energy storage, energy efficiency, demand response, and other innovative clean energy technologies;
• Comprehensively assessing the associated climate impacts and all reasonable clean energy alternatives when evaluating proposed new fossil fuel infrastructure;
• Exercising its oversight authority to ensure that the operators of regional electric grids and other regulated entities are fostering participation, transparency, independence and responsiveness to states, consumers, and other stakeholders.

The letter was led by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey and joined by the attorneys general of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, as well as the District of Columbia.

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