On May 17, 2011, Senator Lisa Murkowski, (R-AK), sent a letter to FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff in which she expressed concern over the impact of proposed and final rules by the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) on the reliability of electricity.  This letter follows the May 9, 2011 letter by Fred Upton (R-MI), Ed Whitfield (R-KY), and Cliff Stearns (R-FL) to the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and FERC requesting information on EPA coordination with DOE and FERC. 

In their May 9, 2011 letter to FERC, Representatives Upton, Whitfield and Stearns sought information on EPA’s consultation with DOE or FERC on impacts of its rules on reliability.  They also sought information on the participation by FERC or DOE in interagency tasks forces, among other items.

In her letter to Chairman Wellinghoff, Senator Murkowski asked the Chairman for his thoughts on the potential impact of numerous rules, including the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Nitrogen Dioxide, Coal Combustion Residuals rule, Clean Air Transport Rule, MACT Standards, and New Particulate Matter National Ambient Air Quality Standards, among others.  Senator Murkowski noted in her letter that FERC mentioned the “potential” impact of these rules on electric reliability in its Fiscal Year 2010 Performance and Accountability Report.  Senator Murkwoski sought “detailed answers” to ten specific questions, dealing with many issues, regarding: collaboration between FERC and EPA, the impact on electric reliability of the proposed rules, FERC’s power to protect electric reliability if there are plant retirements,  the interaction between EPA regulations and FERC-approved reliability standards, and FERC’s statutory authority to protect electric reliability.

A copy of Senator Murkowski’s letter is available here.

A copy of Representative Upton, Whitfield, and Stearns’ letter is here.