Rep Waxman cites Berkeley Law report, calls on FERC to combat climate change

July 29, 2014 … At a U.S. House of Representatives hearing today, Congressman Henry A. Waxman hailed a new Berkeley Law report as proof that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) could step up its efforts to combat climate change under existing statutes.

In his prepared remarks to FERC’s commissioners, the congressman said “the statutory standards that FERC administers give the agency many tools to help combat climate change and create the clean economy of the future …. As this new report shows, we don’t have to choose between protecting the environment and reliable electricity.”

Waxman, who asked the commissioners to give the report’s ideas “serious consideration,” delivered his remarks during a hearing of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power.

The report, released last week, calls on (FERC) to mitigate the impact of climate change by enforcing laws already on the books. It is the second in a series, “Addressing Climate Change Without Legislation,” which recommends steps agencies can take to both reduce emissions linked to climate change and increase clean energy use.

The most prominent finding in the report has to do with FERC’s ability to place a “carbon adder” on the wholesale prices offered in the markets it regulates.  This fee could help ensure that rates are “just and reasonable,” according to report co-authors, by including environmental damage to the cost of power.

For co-author Steven Weissman’s reaction to the hearing, go to the Legal Planet blog. For a press release about the report’s findings, go here.