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Too Much Risk, Too Little Reward

August 2020

Citation: ELR 10635

Author: Kim Smaczniak

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is a little-known and too-often ignored federal authority with the power to block or rapidly accelerate the transition to a clean energy future, and is thus indispensable to addressing climate change. Institute for Policy Integrity scholars Bethany A. Davis Noll and Burcin Unel are to be applauded for bringing into focus a regulatory space that is essential to efforts to decarbonize the power sector. Unfortunately, their article focuses exclusively on a silver bullet approach that poses far too much risk for too little reward. This Comment offers three points of critique to the authors’ argument that FERC possesses authority under the Federal Power Act to impose a carbon price in the same manner that it has the power to address other market failures.

Kim Smaczniak is the Managing Attorney of Earthjustice’s Clean Energy Program.

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