Sunday, June 24, 2007

L&R Committee Approves 17 Resolutions

Setting the stage for a final vote on Tuesday by APPA members, the association’s Legislative and Resolutions Committee on Sunday approved three new policy resolutions on financial issues and affirmed fourteen others that the committee approved as interim APPA policy in March (after amending one on climate change). The climate change resolution was amended to urge Congress to adopt comprehensive legislation incorporating certain principles, rather than just to consider ways to address climate change.

As amended, the principles call for any federal legislation on climate change to:
• be economy-wide, apply to all industry sectors and consider local, state and regional initiatives while being implemented uniformly nationwide;
• consider the financial impact on consumers;
• protect the ability of U.S. industries to compete in world markets;
• allow credit for early actions taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
• maintain reliability, protect national security and avoid over-reliance on any single fuel;
• place an immediate focus on energy efficiency for all energy uses; and
• ensure that tax-based or other incentives for renewable and clean energy are provided on a comparable basis to all electric industry sectors, including public power;
• ensure emission-reduction targets are consistent with commercially available technologies; and
• ensure any generation portfolio requirements allow all low-emission technologies.

The three new resolutions not addressed in March oppose extension of the “Transco” capital gains tax deferral provision of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 as an unjust windfall for shareholders of independent transmission companies; support APPA and its members working with policy makers to determine appropriate modifications to arbitrage rules for tax-exempt bonds that would allow for the use of investment profits for worthwhile public purposes; and urge Congress to eliminate or substantially reduce private use restrictions on tax-exempt bonds for financing transmission infrastructure.

Other resolutions support cleaner power generation through nuclear, near-zero-emissions coal, and ocean wave and tidal technologies. They promote development of flexible-fuel plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, and focus on helping to meet the energy efficiency and renewable energy goals of the 2007 Farm Bill.

In addition, resolutions express concern about how regional transmission organizations have created obstacles to public power utilities as providers of reliable and low-cost electric power, and urge Congress to hold oversight hearings on the functioning of the wholesale electricity markets. They urge the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to rigorously enforce Order No. 890 and the revised open access transmission tariff. They also support implementation of mandatory and enforceable electric reliability standards based on fair, open, independent and competitively neutral governance of the electric reliability organization.

APPA members will vote on the 17 resolutions at the association’s annual business meeting Tuesday afternoon. Once approved by members at the business meeting, a resolution becomes official APPA policy.

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