Regional committees may improve collaboration between federal and state regulators.
Sandra Hochstetter is chairman of the Arkansas Public Service Commission. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Editor’s Note: The article was adapted from a speech delivered by Arkansas PSC Chairman Sandra Hochstetter at the University of Missouri’s Financial Research Institute Symposium on state and federal issues on Oct. 5, 2005.
In light of the extensive degree of restructuring and change in the energy industry during the last several years, and the increased degree of complexity such restructuring has created, the lines of demarcation between federal and state authority are not as bright as they once were.
Now, layered on top of ever-evolving industry restructuring and corresponding Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) rulemakings, we have the provisions of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT), which greatly expand the legal authority of FERC and Department of Energy (DOE). These agencies’ new authorities will blur the lines further between traditional state regulatory authority and the domain of the federal government. The concept of “cooperative federalism,” which is supposed to embody the spirit of the Tenth Amendment, has become very difficult to define, and even more difficult to achieve.