Democratic News

Many of you will be writing on last week’s monster power outage for a long time to come. Sen. Jeff Bingaman’s reaction from last Friday follows. Bingaman is the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Also, as you know, the energy bill that the Senate passed right before the August recess is the same bill that passed the Senate last year. This Bingaman-authored legislation is the bill that a joint House and Senate conference committee will deliberate when Congress returns next month. It contains a special title on energy infrastructure protection that is relevant to last week’s events. I’ll send another e-mail tomorrow with specifics on that section. BINGAMAN REACTS TO BLACKOUT “This blackout is a dramatic illustration of the fact that electricity is a regional commodity that doesn't respect state boundaries. Our power grid was built and has been largely regulated on a state-by-state basis. It was never intended to serve as an electricity superhighway. But times have changed, and our policies need to change with them. Until we start thinking and planning regionally, and using new technology to build a ‘smarter’ and more capable grid, we will not be able to prevent, mitigate, or easily recover from major blackouts like this one.”