The Hydropower Reform Coalition (HRC) submitted the following comment on the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (Notice) to implement the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act Section 61003 (FERC Docket No. RM16-15-000). This rulemaking seeks to integrate existing rules regarding Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII) specific to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) with broader transportation legislation recently passed by Congress.
The HRC has been interested and engaged in the Commission’s implementation of rules related to Critical Energy Infrastructure Information (CEII). We submitted comments when the Commission issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on September 15, 2002 and when the Commission sought public comments on February 13, 2004 regarding the implementation of CEII rules. As in the previous instances, our comments this time are also about CEII related to hydropower projects and infrastructures.
As noted in the Notice, it has been 8 years since the Commission reviewed protocols and procedures related to CEII. In addition to integrating Commission policy and practice with the new transportation legislation, the HRC believes it is also a good time for the Commission to take stock of the implementation of previous policy and rules, and to consider improvements.
The HRC appreciates and agrees with the goal of protecting energy infrastructure. The transportation legislation FAST Act and previous CEII rules primarily contemplate threats to this infrastructure from potential terrorist acts. Measures and rules to protect energy infrastructure from such acts are necessary and appropriate.
In addition to such potential acts, issues related to maintenance of infrastructure and to normal operations for energy production and distribution also pose substantial concerns both for energy reliability and for public safety. Well-maintained facilities and smart project operations are a cornerstone of energy reliability. Public interest organizations such as those in the HRC have a direct interest in this reliability. The HRC also has a direct interest in the environmental benefits that are made possible by well-functioning and properly operating energy infrastructure.
The HRC believes that informed public participation and citizen oversight of power producers have an important role to play in the protection of energy infrastructure as it relates to maintenance and normal operations for both power and non-power purposes. We also believe that public participation and citizen oversight are important democratic values and elements of public safety. The HRC seeks to maintain an appropriate balance in protecting these values at the same time that energy infrastructure is protected from potential terrorist acts.
Read our full comments for specific recommendations.
FERC docket RM16-15-000: Proposed Rulemaking to implement the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act Section 61003. Accession number 20160818-5218.