AT HIS 21ST HEARING ON FEDERAL ELECTRIC Restructuring, Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-Colo.), chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power, said the two-day proceedings were the "beginning" of developing consensus on legislation.
Fellow subcommittee members spoke out on competitive issues at the Oct. 21 hearing, which highlighted their lack of consensus. The Clinton Administration was represented by the Department of Energy's Deputy Secretary, Elizabeth Moler, who said nothing about its restructuring plans.
Schaefer said 10 major electric restructuring bills had been introduced in the House and the Senate in 1997 and more were expected. He prodded the Clinton Administration to finalize its position, stating that while the administration has a role to play, "it has to get on the stage in order to play that role."
Undermining State Efforts?
Subcommittee members showed no cohesion. While some members supported federal legislation, several others said the states should have more control over how choice is implemented.
Some feared federal legislation would crush any state action taken so far. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.) said he is concerned federal restructuring efforts could wipe out his state's plan to allow choice for all customers by 2002. Rep. Michael Crapo (R-Idaho) said the Pacific Northwest is "blessed" with the lowest electric rates in the nation, and that it would be "intolerable" for a federal bill to affect state sovereignty over water management issues.