Barrasso: FERC Has the Responsibility to Ensure Americans Have Affordable & Reliable Natural Gas & Electric Service

September 28, 2021

Click here to watch Ranking Member Barrasso’s remarks.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (ENR), delivered the following remarks at a full committee hearing to review the administration of laws under the jurisdiction of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

The hearing featured testimony from the Honorable Richard Glick, chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the Honorable Mark C. Christie, commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the Honorable Allison Clements, commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; and the Honorable James Danly, commissioner of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. 

For more information on witness testimony click here. 

Senator Barrasso’s remarks: 

“Thank you so much, Mr. Chairman, and thank you for holding today’s hearing. 

“It could not come at a more critical time. 

“I’m especially appreciative of your opening comments focusing on affordability and reliability of our energy. 

“As we speak, the Biden administration and House Democrats are working frantically to impose a witches’ brew of reckless energy policies across the entire nation. 

“The House Democrats’ plans will effectively end any new oil, natural gas, coal, and hardrock mineral production on federal lands and waters. 

“If enacted, their bill surrenders America’s energy independence and makes us dependent on OPEC, Russia, and China.

“It also would devastate communities across the West and the Gulf Coast. 

“House Democrats also plan to impose a natural gas tax on American families and businesses.  

“At a time when inflation is at its highest level since 2008, these policies make it more expensive for American families to heat and power their homes.

“The magazine, the Economist, pointed out that higher energy costs anger voters and hurt the poor. 

“Price increases, they increase inflation. 

“They lower standards of living. 

“The House Democrats’ plan would establish a so-called ‘Clean Electricity Performance Program’ which will add to the costs of living. 

“It’s a scheme. 

“It would use an estimated $150 billion of taxpayer dollars to pay off the largest utilities in the country to deploy Democrats’ favorite energy sources.  

“At the same time, it will allow those utilities to charge their customers for new transmission lines to service these facilities. 

“To add insult to injury, Democrats do not plan to debate and consider this legislation through regular order. 

“They won’t even allow the public to provide testimony on their bill. 

“Instead, they plan to ram it through the legislative process on a completely partisan basis. 

“Not one Republican is going to support this bill. 

“We won’t support it because we have witnessed the disastrous results of these policies elsewhere. 

“Let’s look at California. 

“California prematurely shut down nuclear, natural gas, and coal-fired power plants. 

“They have richly subsidized solar and wind energy. 

“Now, the people of California pay some of the highest electricity prices in the country. 

“In return, millions of California residents have been subject to rolling blackouts over the last two years. 

“They’re having a hard time trying to keep the lights on in California. 

“It is so bad that the secretary of Energy and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have had to give California waivers to allow natural gas power plants to run overtime. 

“We should also look at what’s happening in Europe. 

“Like California, European countries prematurely shut down their nuclear power, their natural gas, and their coal-fired power plants and richly subsidized wind and solar energy. 

“Now, Europe’s electric grids are failing to deliver and electricity prices are hitting all time record highs. 

“A recent headline in the Wall Street Journal ran ‘European Energy Prices Surge: Lack of North Sea wind curbs an electrical source just as stocks of natural gas are low.’ 

“The article notes that, this month, electricity prices in the United Kingdom, because of policy decisions made there, are seven times what they were a year ago. 

“Now, Europe doesn’t have sufficient supplies of natural gas. 

“This puts them completely at the mercy of foreign actors, including Russia.

“Make no mistake, this is America’s future if President Biden and House Democrats get their way. 

“For these reasons, I’m glad we have members of the FERC before us today. 

“Among FERC’s authorities is the principal regulator of natural gas and electricity. 

“It has the responsibility to ensure Americans have affordable and reliable natural gas and electric service. 

“FERC is an independent agency – not merely an arm of the White House. 

“In other words, FERC Commissioners have the opportunity as well as the obligation to speak the truth about the potential impacts of these policies on all Americans. 

“They can explain the consequences of reckless policies to a president who seems intent on putting rhetoric ahead of reality and politics ahead of the people of this country. 

“Welcome to you all and I look forward to hearing your testimony. 

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman.”