Senator John Boozman, Senator Tom Cotton, Congressman Rick Crawford, Congressman French Hill, Congressman Steve Womack, and Congressman Bruce Westerman today issued the following statement in response to an announcement by the Department of Energy (DOE) to use Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109–58) to partner with Clean Line Energy in an energy transmission project across Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee.
“Today marks a new page in an era of unprecedented executive overreach as the Department of Energy seeks to usurp the will of Arkansans and form a partnership with a private company – the same private company previously denied rights to operate in our state by the Arkansas Public Service Commission. Despite years of pushback on the local level and continuous communications between our delegation and Secretary Moniz, DOE has decided to forgo the will of the Natural State and take over the historic ability of state-level transmission control through this announcement.
“We now will begin the process of careful review over DOE’s decision and will continue to address our concerns through any avenue necessary. Section 1222 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 establishes specific conditions that must be met before this authority is used, and we expect the Department to release all details of their review so that our staff and Congressional investigators will be able to continue the process of oversight.
“It is our firm belief that the DOE has overstepped its bounds, and reversing this decision through the passage of the APPROVAL Act remains a top priority.”
Last year, Senator Boozman and Congressman Womack – with the support of the entire Arkansas delegation – introduced the Assuring Private Property Rights Over Vast Access to Land (APPROVAL) Act (S. 485/H.R. 3062). The APPROVAL Act would restore states’ rights to approve or reject an electric transmission project prior to the federal government exercising its power to take private property. The legislation directs the U.S. Department of Energy to obtain the approval of both the governor and the state’s public service commission before approving any Section 1222 transmission project and subsequent use of federal eminent domain, as well as the approval of any tribal government for affected lands.
Congressman Steve Womack has represented Arkansas’s Third Congressional District since 2011 and serves on the House Appropriations Defense, Financial Services and General Government, and Labor-Health and Human Services subcommittees and the House Committee on the Budget.