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On March 7, 1991, Stephen A. Wakefield, General Counsel,
Following the hearing, you submitted written questions on behalf of Senators Bingaman, Wirth, Wallop and Domenici to supplement the record. Enclosed are the answers. The remaining answer to question 8 (Wirth) is still in the clearing process and will be forwarded to you as expeditiously as possible.
If we can be of further assistance to you or your staff, please
Jacqueline Kňox Brown
On March 7, 1991, Stephen A. Wakefield, General Counsel, testified before your committee on Title X of s. 341.
At the time of my last letter to you dated April 17, 1991, we explained that the remaining question for the record was not available and that it would be forwarded to you. Enclosed is the answer to that question.
If we can be of further assistance to you or your staff, please contact our Congressional Hearing Coordinator, Renee Wilhite, on (202) 586-4277.
QUESTIONS FROM SENATOR BINGAMAN Please provide greater details on how the proposed Natural Gas and Electric Administration within the Department of Energy would be organized and how it would function. In particular, how would the NGEA differ from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in the performance of the functions now performed by the Commission? Under this proposal, FERC, similar to the existing
Energy Information Administration, would become an
administration within DOB. This new
administration would be headed by an
Administrator, who would report to the Secretary and participate in key policy decisions made through DOE's existing policy-making framework.
However, responsibility for that policy would
reside in the Secretary.
The proposal for natural gas regulatory and
structural reform contained in the NES is intended
to promote competition and streamline and improve the overall efficiency of the construction and
rate authorization process.
The proposal to
change FERC's status from an independent
regulatory commission, located within the
Department of Energy, to an Administration, still situated within the Department of Energy, is complementary to the overall strategy for natural gas reform. The principal advantages of the
proposed structure are as follows:
a. Establishment of a coordinated Energy Policy
Policy should be developed and implemented within the context of considerations of the full range of governmental interest in all relevant areas. In
the case of FERC, it is cloar that the existing
bifurcated structure for dealing with natural gas
problems does not lend itself to the fulfillment
of sound anergy policy.
The lack of effective coordination over the
development of all aspects of natural gas policy implementation prevents the execution of a
coherent energy strategy by DOE. Whilo certain portions of natural gas and electricity policy
result from decisions at DOB and elsewhere in the Executive Branch, these policies are implemented
in individual proceedings at the FERC which cannot be discussed with officials from the Executive
Under the current PERC structure policy must be implemented through individual proceedings or settlements. However, under the concept of "saparation of functions" as practiced by FERC, the ability of the policymakers to communicate their objectives in the implementation of that policy
with that portion of the FERC staff responsible
for the proceedings is extremely limited. This may result in positions being taken by FERC staff which are totally inconsistent with the views of the Commission; proceedings adjudicated on faulty premises; and decisions which do not reflect the
Since FERC is a multiheaded agency, its procedures are unwieldy and time-consuming. Decisions cannot
be made after due consideration by a single
responsible executive. Instead, they require concurrence by a majority of the Commissioners.
Since the Government in the Sunshine Act requires
that all meetings of more than two commissioners be subject to notice and open to the public, timely action and a free and full exchange of
views is inhibitad.
The necessity to obtain the
votes of three Commissioners prior to the issuance
of any order frequently results in delays and the
necessity to achieve compromises which may do