Energy & Public Lands - 8/1/13

 

Representative Tom Sloan (KS): Genesis of the Project.

Representative Sloan spoke to problems he and colleagues saw with the siting of transmission lines particularly involving the need to move renewable energy sources which are many times quite far from customer loads. He approached the CSG Center for Interstate Compacts looking to explore the feasibility of a compact.  From a survey guided by the Center of major stakeholders it was determined to move ahead with the concept.  An advisory board was created that had the following guiding principles: maintain states’ rights, allow participation to voluntary, make sure it was cost and time effective for all parties, include a way for the federal agencies to participate, reduce court involvement, and ensure hearings in every state where a line was being considered.  A seven member group completed the draft language following several meetings.

 

Crady deGolian: What is an interstate compact? How are they created?

Crady DeGolian, the Director of the National Center for Interstate Compacts outlined that compacts promote cooperation, uniformity in laws, create economies of scale, ensure collective sovereignty, and respond to national priorities among states.  Generally there are three purposes for compacts: to solve boundary issues, address allocations of natural resources, and tackle administrative jurisdictions over state concerns.  The reason the project could easily move ahead was the passage of the 2005 Energy Policy Act which allowed for states to form compacts to address electrical transmission siting.  The goals of the compact were to simplify the application process, create a governance structure, have a dispute resolution process, and be financed by the applicants.

 

Representative Jeff Morris (WA): How Does an Electrical Transmission Compact Work?

Representative Morris explained that one of the major advantages of a compact is to expedite long timelines for permitting so that FERC will not use backstop authority to make decisions.  State decisions will account for regional benefits that FERC will not.  The compact will be composed of three member panels from each state with an Interstate Compact Commission for administrative support.  A critical aspect of the process is definitive timelines for application decisions to be made.  The compact should also be competitive with the rest of the world, have federal participation, be technology neutral, and include national partners.

 

Sam Razor: How Does a Compact Work Administratively?

Sam Razor, the Assistant Director for the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision described the administrative structure of the Compact and the processes within the Commission he oversees.   A key aspect of the Commission’s administrative work is that all direction comes from the states; the staff does not work unilaterally apart from the states.  The staff also provides on-site training programs, runs a mentoring program for new commissioners, self-audits for efficiencies, and works to be flexible in its services to members.

 

A copy of the session presentations are available on the presentations page.

 

For more information on the Energy & Public Lands Committee, please contact CSG-WEST staff: Rich Lindsey by phone (307)399-7368 or email: rlindsey@wyoming.com.