WE ACT Responds to FERC’s Finalized Rules for Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation, and Permits to Site Interstate Electric Transmission Facilities

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 22, 2024

Media Contact: Jama.Joseph@weact.org, (646) 951-1648

 

Washington, D.C. – This week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) finalized long-awaited regulatory reforms and actions that will enhance the electrical transmission system in the U.S. These rules, including “Building for the Future Through Electric Regional Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation” and “Applications for Permits to Site Interstate Electric Transmission Facilities”, could enable the build out of new transmission lines and bring us closer to realizing a clean, renewable energy future, reduce energy costs for ratepayers, and improve grid reliability and resiliency. FERC also announced the appointment of Nicole Sitaramin as permanent Director of the Office of Public Participation. In response to these developments,  Anastasia Gordon, Federal Policy Director at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, had this to say:

“We commend FERC for taking steps to improve regional transmission planning and cost allocation,  including mandatory long-term planning and benefits assessments. These improvements have the potential to facilitate the inevitable transition to renewables and beneficial electrification; to make energy more affordable for ratepayers; and to ensure a reliable and resilient grid. This is especially important for a fifth of Americans, mostly people living in areas of low–income and communities of color, who are struggling to afford their energy bills, are disproportionately affected by fossil fuel pollution, and are navigating black outs caused by extreme weather events. 

Moreover,  we acknowledge the requirements for Tribal engagement plans  and for transmission developers to account for impacts to Tribal and environmental justice communities in the finalized backstop transmission siting authority rule. FERC must ensure that these requirements translate into robust and meaningful engagement and transmission projects that advance reliability and clean energy deployment but do not compound existing burdens in frontline communities.

Finally, we also celebrate the appointment of Nicole Sitaraman as Director of the Office of Public Participation (OPP) at FERC. Her appointment means that the Commission  is taking meaningful steps to fulfill its commitment to bolster capacity with environmental justice expertise as outlined in the Commission’s 2022 Equity Action Plan. Having served as Acting Director since March 2023, and with a robust history in energy policy and environmental justice, Sitaraman is exceptionally qualified to lead the OPP,  continuing her great work of ensuring community voices are heard and integrated into FERC’s decision-making processes.”

WE ACT remains committed to collaborating with FERC and other stakeholders to ensure that these rules are implemented effectively with equity and environmental justice embedded into regional transmission planning and siting, and that OPP lives up to its mission.

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About WE ACT: Founded in 1988, WE ACT for Environmental Justice is a Harlem-based nonprofit organization whose mission is to build healthy communities by ensuring that people of color and/or low income participate meaningfully in the creation of sound and fair environmental health and protection policies and practices. WE ACT is a leader in the national environmental justice movement, and operates a Federal Policy Office in Washington, D.C. to address nationwide environmental justice issues.

 

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