House Passes Rep. Gosar’s Amendment To Keep Energy Costs Affordable

Jul 11, 2013 Issues: Energy
 

For Immediate Release
July 11, 2013

 

Contact: Orlando Watson
Orlando.Watson@mail.house.gov

 House Passes Rep. Gosar’s Amendment To Keep Energy Costs Affordable

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Last night, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2609, the Energy and Water Development Appropriations Act, which included an amendment introduced by Congressman Paul Gosar (AZ-04). This amendment would prohibit the Department of Energy from implementing the “Chu Memorandum.” Issued by former Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in 2012, the “Chu Memorandum” outlines four specific directives that could increase energy costs dramatically. These actions would increase energy rates on Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) and shift costs onto American consumers. 

Rep. Gosar’s amendment garnered overwhelming bipartisan support and was adopted in the appropriations bill by voice vote. 

Before passage, Rep. Gosar spoke on the House floor urging his colleagues to support the amendment.

Click HERE or below to watch Rep. Gosar’s speech. 

TRANSCRIPT:

Thank you Mr. Chairman,

On March 16, 2012, The Secretary of Energy issued a “Memorandum for Power Marketing Administrators.”  This memo, commonly referred to as the “Chu Memorandum” has created a great deal of concern among our constituents who rely on Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) for affordable and reliable energy.

As many of you know, the PMAs are four regional power marketing administrations which have been delivering reliable, clean energy to consumers for over 75 years. 

The PMAs have been successful models of regional collaboration with local stakeholders and a guided principle of “beneficiary pays” meaning that whoever benefits from the specific investments in the PMAs’ infrastructure ultimately bears the cost.

The former Secretary’s memo directs the PMAs to act in areas involving transmission expansion, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and cyber security – all laudable goals – goals that, on the surface I support.

In fact, I have strongly advocated for the expansion of transmission here in Congress.  However, I believe the Department of Energy’s means of these goals, “the Chu Memo,” would implement a top-down approach that could most certainly impose greater costs and risks that outweigh benefits and could undermine the collaborative and low-cost, emissions-free nature of the federal power program. 

This issue has undergone significant scrutiny here in Congress over the past year.  Last year, Congressman Jim Matheson from Utah and I led a letter expressing concern over the Chu memo. 

That letter was signed by over 160 U.S. Senators and Representatives, almost evenly split between Republicans and Democrats.  Additionally, the House Appropriations Committee approved similar language to what I am putting forth today, by voice vote, to the 2013 Energy and Water Appropriations bill barring the Secretary from implementing the Chu directives. 

There are few issues the Congress has had such consensus on in the past. 

Additionally, the House Natural Resources Committee has held multiple hearings on the memo and it was a major topic of conversation at our recent PMA FY2014 Budget hearing. 

Members from both sides of the aisle have expressed concern about how the DOE might move forward with the Chu memo. 

It is best if we stop this train wreck from moving forward before it is even implemented.  My amendment would simply prohibit the Power Marketing Agencies from utilizing their budgets to implement any new program, project, or activity proposed under the guise of this memo.

It is not intended to disrupt any previously existing activities of the PMAs including the Bonneville Power Administration that has been conducted in coordination with the support of the customers.

It is many of our beliefs that the recommendations of the memo fall beyond DoE’s authority under the existing law.

If the DoE would like to move forward, this amendment ensures the Administration will have to come forward in a transparent manner and request legal authority. 

I hope my colleagues will support this common-sense amendment that will preserve the existing federal power program and ensure our constituents electricity costs stay low. 

I urge support for my amendment, and I reserve the balance of my time.

 

 

 

 ###