Chairman Hastings Renews Request for Information from Secretary Chu on Memo that Could Increase Electricity Rates on 40 Million Americans


WASHINGTON, D.C., February 28, 2013 - House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Doc Hastings (WA-04) today followed up on his previous request to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu for detailed documents and communications related to the issuance of Chu’s March 16, 2012, Memorandum (Memorandum) to the Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs). Last Congress, the Natural Resources Committee held multiple hearings on the potentially devastating impacts the Memorandum could have on job creation and it potential to raise electricity rates on 40 million Americans.

Click here to read the letter.

“A bipartisan group of Members of the House and the Senate have raised serious questions about the Chu Memorandum’s statutory basis and effects on consumers.  The Department’s lack of transparency and failure thus far to provide more information, including important emails referenced above, only fuels criticisms,” said Chairman Hastings. “I expect a complete and thorough response from Secretary Chu and will be following-up with the next Secretary of Energy, once nominated and confirmed, to see if these same devastating policies will continue to be pursued by the Department.”

Background:
  • On March 16, 2012, Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu sent a memorandum to the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) and all other Power Marketing Administrations (PMAs) that includes directives that could increase the cost of energy for millions of American families and small businesses.
  • On April 26, 2012 the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on “Increased Electricity Costs for American Families and Small Businesses: The Potential Impacts of the Chu Memorandum”. Secretary Chu declined Chairman Hastings invitation to testify. At the hearing, consumer-owned utility representatives testified how the memo would directly impact millions of Americans who rely on affordable energy from PMAs.
  • On June, 4, 2012, the House Subcommittee on Water and Power held an oversight field hearing in Phoenix, Arizona entitled, “Evaporating Prosperity: How Federal Actions Are Driving Up Water and Power Costs, Threatening Jobs and Leaving Arizonans High and Dry.”
  • On June 11, 2012, 166 Congressmen and Senators recently sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to Department of Energy Secretary Steven Chu expressing concerns over his memorandum to the PMAs.
  • On September 11, 2012 the House Natural Resources Committee held an oversight hearing on, “The Chu Memorandum: Directives Could Increase Electricity Costs for over 40 Million Families and Small Businesses"
  • On August 15, 2012, the House Natural Resources Committee held a field hearing in Pasco, Washington on H.R. 6247, the “Saving Our Dams and New Hydropower Development and Jobs Act of 2012”. The legislation included provisions requiring the Energy Department to justify the legality of activities in the Chu memorandum and prohibited new activities from going forward until Congress authorized them.

Contact: Jill Strait or Spencer Pederson 202-226-9019

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