federal-state tensions currently affecting energy regulatory policy in America.
Sen. Johnston was reflecting on state implementation of PURPA when he said (and I'm paraphrasing), "What do we (federal policymakers) do about California, where their decisions have driven up energy costs and electric consumers are paying more than they should?"
I happen to agree with Sen. Johnston that we should repeal PURPA. However, I am not quite as convinced that we need to concern ourselves in a global, systematic sense with what individual states are doing.
As a front-line regulator, and an elected official myself, I am very aware of the political pressure to keep energy costs down. I suspect I have taken more calls from constituents angry over a 60-cent-per-month increase in their gas bills than the entire U.S. Senate has received over the generally inefficient and costly PURPA legislation. Federal policymakers ought to concern themselves with removing distortions from the marketplace and giving individual states greater latitude to develop energy regulatory policies that reflect each one's individual needs and biases.