CSG to Unveil Transmission Line Siting Compact
By Crady DeGolian, Director, CSG’s National Center for Interstate Compacts
The National Center for Interstate Compacts will unveil compact language intended to ease efforts among states to site interstate electricity transmission lines during a 2:30-4 p.m. session Dec. 2 at The Council of State Governments’ 2012 National Conference in Austin, Texas.
The compact will be of particular importance with the country’s need to enhance and secure the energy infrastructure, expected growth in electricity demand and the growing desire to bring more renewables to market. Too often, national and state interests do not align and this discord has contributed to an underdeveloped and overstressed transmission system.
“I believe that this piece of legislation provides a real opportunity for states to actively engage in the process of siting interstate transmission lines,” said Rep. Tom Sloan, co-chair of the compact drafting team and former chair of CSG’s Energy and Environment Task Force. “If successful, it has the potential to standardize the siting process and reduce many of the inefficiencies that have previously prevented lines from being built.”
The compact is intended to improve efficiencies and create standardization during the siting process by establishing common applications, predetermined timelines and uniform public comment periods. Such an agreement, and its requirements, would be triggered on an ad hoc basis and pertain only to those states that are both members of the compact and impacted by the proposed line.
“This piece of legislation, which was a member-supported effort, and the upcoming session in Austin represent a culmination of 18 months of hard work by a dedicated drafting team,” said Rep. Kim Koppelman, co-chair of the drafting team and past national chair of CSG. “I am pleased to have co-chaired such an important effort and look forward to what I know will be a robust discussion in Austin.”
The presentation in Austin is the beginning of an education effort designed to inform policymakers about the compact and the potential benefits it can offer states. The briefing will provide attendees an opportunity to learn about this member-driven initiative from subject matter experts who will highlight the need for the compact, the development process and the specific areas covered by the new interstate agreement.
In addition to Sloan and Koppelman, the session also will feature Washington Rep. Jeff Morris and Bill Smith, the executive director of the Organization of MISO States.
The compact was drafted with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 in mind. Title XII, Subtitle B, Section 1221 of the act granted the “consent of Congress for three or more contiguous states to enter into an interstate compact facilitating siting of future electric transmission facilities.”