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December 3, 2019
Contact: Tom Lalley

Multistate Coalition Warns FERC Against Gutting Federal Law that Promotes Clean Energy

FERC’s proposed changes to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 would undermine a critical legal tool for renewable energy development.

Washington, D.C. —  Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey led a coalition of eight attorneys general today in submitting comments on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) proposed rule that would revise its regulations implementing the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (PURPA). PURPA has been a key tool for developing renewable energy and ensuring just and reasonable electricity rates.
“PURPA plays a crucial role in helping states meet their clean energy and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals and combat climate change,” said Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh.   
The purpose of the 1978 law was to reduce the country’s dependence on oil and natural gas which, at the time, were costly and in short supply, and to increase electric reliability by encouraging the development of renewable energy and cogeneration facilities. In their comments, the attorneys general urged FERC to use PURPA as it was intended to address barriers to renewable energy in electricity markets, while recognizing the important role states play in implementing the law. They also warned FERC against pointing to increased reliance on natural gas as a basis for its rule changes, which would contravene strong state policies and efforts to combat climate change, as well as a primary aim of PURPA.
“At a time when many states are looking to use every tool available to expand clean energy, FERC should not administratively restrict the access that Congress allows to renewable energy providers under PURPA,” said David J. Hayes, Executive Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center.
Attorney General Healey was joined in the comments by the attorneys general of Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oregon and the District of Columbia, as well as the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities and the Rhode Island Division of Public Utilities and Carriers.
Attorney General Healey additionally submitted comments focusing on issues raised by the rulemaking that are specific to Massachusetts.


About the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center
The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center (State Impact Center) is a non-partisan Center at the NYU School of Law that is dedicated to helping state attorneys general fight against regulatory rollbacks and advocate for clean energy, climate change, and environmental values and protections. It was launched in August 2017 with support from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
For more information, visit our website