Changing Currents: Turbulence for the Electricity Industry? 2011 Energy Policy Forum

The question is never whether the United States has an energy policy. It has dozens. They come with various decision-makers at overlapping levels of authority, ample numbers of stakeholders, and generally lots of confusing and often contradictory signals. Congress has been the locus of decision-making over the past half a decade, but by now most attention has shifted from legislation to regulation. The Environmental Protection Agency, in particular, has garnered significant attention—both positive and negative—with its long-delayed rulemaking in various areas. These rules cover everything from tighter ozone standards, the transport rule involving local and regional air pollutants and their effects on neighboring states, as well as greenhouse gas regulation prompted by the 2007 Supreme Court decision in EPA v. Massachusetts, which requires EPA to address global warming pollution. Often the only question is whether Congress will act to overturn or delay EPA's regulatory efforts. That seems unlikely, given Congressional paralysis and threats of Presidential veto, but political doubts remain nonetheless. The ongoing debt discussions, in particular, could add another level of uncertainty related to EPA's authority.

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Academic Units
International and Public Affairs
Aspen Institute
Published Here
January 30, 2012