Climate change is the issue-of-the-day for Congress, as numerous hearings get underway on the science surrounding climate change, and legislative solutions for addressing the problem. House Speaker Pelosi has put her Committee Chairmen on notice that a climate change bill is expected for House floor debate prior to July 4 Congressional recess. House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman John Dingell has publicly questioned the wisdom of moving that quickly, as well as suggesting that getting a workable policy done in that limited amount of time is difficult. Nonetheless, he has told his Committee members that they need to be developing their own climate change priorities as soon as possible, since they have no choice, but to meet the Speaker’s schedule. INGAA staff began meeting with members of the Committee this week to discuss our association concerns.
One important issue brought to our attention was a letter from Senator Jeff Bingaman, sent to FERC Chairman Joe Kelliher in late January, requesting some analysis on the Senator’s climate change legislation. In particular, the Senator asked whether certain sectors of the energy industry were regulated in ways that would make it difficult for those segments to serve as the regulated entity under a cap-and-trade program. The questions appeared to be directed to the issues raised by INGAA and others about pipeline regulation and the current business model for interstate pipelines. The INGAA staff developed an issue paper on climate change, stating our concerns about the mechanics of the Bingaman bill, especially if pipelines were designated as the regulated entity for the natural gas sector. We provided that paper to FERC staff for their review in developing an answer to Senator Bingaman’s letter. Senator Bingaman asked that FERC respond by March 1; we will obtain a copy of the FERC’s response as soon as it is available.