The following is a press release from the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office submitted to SOURCE media.
BOSTON – Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey today led a coalition of eight attorneys general and public utilities commissions in opposing efforts by the federal government to undercut a law that has been instrumental in developing renewable energy resources and ensuring fair and affordable electricity rates for ratepayers.
In comments filed today, December 3, with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), the coalition emphasizes the crucial role that the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA) plays in helping states meet their clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and combat climate change.
The states argue that any proposed changes to FERC’s regulations implementing PURPA that are contrary to the law’s objectives are unlawful and should be rejected.
Those objectives include encouraging development of alternative sources of energy, including wind and solar power, and maintaining fair electricity rates for ratepayers.
“Advancing clean and renewable energy projects are our best shot at combatting the climate crisis,” AG Healey said. “We need to protect laws like PURPA to expand our state’s thriving $13 billion clean energy economy and protect our environment for future generations.”
Joining AG Healey in filing today’s comments are the attorneys general of Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon, as well as the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers.
The states further argue that FERC should not restrict the states’ abilities to implement creative policies that are consistent with PURPA’s objective of fostering investment in renewable energy projects.
Enacted more than 40 years ago, PURPA still plays an important role in helping states reduce emissions of harmful greenhouse gases by providing owners of clean energy projects with an opportunity to sell their renewable energy and capacity to public utilities.
According to today’s comments, the law has enhanced competition in the wholesale energy market, which helps to ensure fair and affordable rates for ratepayers.
The comments contend that FERC should not implement any changes that would reduce these important benefits.
In separate comments filed with FERC today by the AG’s Office, AG Healey highlighted the potential impacts of this proposed FERC rule change specifically on Massachusetts, arguing against any change that may make it more difficult and expensive for Massachusetts to meet its clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reductions requirements under the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard, Clean Energy Standard, and the Solar Massachusetts Renewable Target (SMART) Program.
Today’s filings demonstrate AG Healey’s leadership in advocating before FERC on behalf of the ratepayers of Massachusetts, and her continued commitment to ensuring that ratepayers have access to clean electricity at fair and affordable prices.
Last month, AG Healey led a coalition of attorneys general in calling on FERC to adopt policies and take support state efforts to transition to cleaner energy systems.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Christina Belew and Special Assistant Attorney General Liam Paskvan, of AG Healey’s Energy and Telecommunications Division, and Special Assistant Attorney General Megan Herzog, of AG Healey’s Energy and Environmental Protection Division