5.3.2 Overcoming Obstacles to State Authorization of Transmission

LPDD Recommendation: “Congress could enact new legislation to transfer siting approval and eminent domain authority for interstate elec­tric transmission lines from the states to FERC, DOE, or another federal agency.”

LPDD Recommendation: “Congress could create multistate regional siting authorities to approve interstate transmission lines within a region. In areas where RTOs currently exist, an RTO could potentially serve in the role of a regional siting authority for interstate transmission lines. In areas where RTOs do not exist, states could use existing authority under EPAct 2005 to enter into interstate compacts that would create regional siting authorities to approve interstate transmission lines within their collec­tive state footprints.”

LPDD Recommendation: “Congress could direct DOE to create more national interest electric transmission corridors (NIETCs).”

LPDD Recommendation: “Congress could expand DOE’s authority under EPAct 2005 to partner with private transmission line companies in areas beyond the Western Area Power Administration and the Southwestern Power Administration.”

LPDD Recommendation: “Congress could leave siting authority for interstate transmission lines with the states but require that states con­sider regional and national electricity needs, including decarbonization goals, in making siting decisions and allowing a federal remedy in court for failure to comply.”

LPDD Recommendation: “Congress could revise EPAct 2005 to clarify that FERC has authority to grant siting permits for transmission lines within NIETCs if a state has denied a siting permit for the line.”

LPDD Recommendation: “State legislatures could amend existing laws to direct their state PUCs to consider regional and national need as well as clean energy goals in determining whether there is a ‘need’ for a transmission line that will impact the state. To the extent state law sets out what is a ‘public use’ for purposes of eminent domain authority, state legislatures could amend the law to make clear that public use includes benefits to a multi-state region as well as to the indi­vidual state.”

LPDD Recommendation: “State legislatures could make clear that merchant transmission line companies can seek siting permits and exercise eminent domain authority under the same conditions as electric utilities.”

Energy Policy Act of 2005

Provides a useful model for how Congress or states might overcome local governments obstructing the permitting of transmission.