Congressman Pete Olson

Representing the 22nd District of Texas

Olson Emphasizes Grid Reliability in Hearing with Energy Secretary

June 2, 2015
Press Release

Rep. Pete Olson (TX-22) today stressed the need to protect the nation's electric grid reliability in an Energy and Commerce Committee hearing with US Energy Secretary Dr. Ernest Moniz. Olson asked if Sec. Moniz would support his bill, H.R. 1558, the Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act.  Secretary Moniz indicated that like his predecessor, he would support the legislation. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) have also come out in support of the bill.

"This bill fixes an unfortunate glitch in federal law that puts power generators in the unenviable position of choosing which federal law they will violate," Rep. Pete Olson said. "Under emergency circumstances power producers can face a decision to violate either a DOE emergency order to provide power or environmental laws that expose them to citizen lawsuits. The bipartisan and bicameral support for this bill is proof that we can find common ground when working to address a critical fault in federal law, protect the environment and provide a reliable energy supply to all Americans. I'm pleased that Secretary Moniz has indicated support for this needed legislation and look forward to seeing it passed in the House and Senate and becoming law."

This bipartisan, bicameral bill would amend Section 202C of the Federal Power Act to prevent a potential conflicting situation in which a utility is ordered by the Department of Energy to run a plant to improve grid reliability when the operation of the utility would violate environmental statutes. A similar version of this bill has passed unanimously in the House in both the 112th and 113th Congresses.

In recent years, conflicting laws have resulted in lawsuits and heavy fines for electricity providers attempting to comply with these statutes. Click here for a link to the text of H.R. 1558, the Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act.




Media Contact: Melissa Kelly