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Public Statements

Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2014

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. GOSAR. 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, or 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 cybersecurity--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 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, I and Congressman Jim Matheson, from Utah, 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 that 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 FY 2014 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 have been conducted in coordination and with the support of the customers. It is many of our beliefs that the recommendations of the memo fall far from the 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 commonsense amendment that will preserve the existing Federal power program and will ensure our constituents' electricity costs stay low. I urge the support of my amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.


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