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TRANSCRIPT: Majority Leader Schumer Touts New FERC Transmission Rules That Will Build On Historic Climate Achievements Outlined In The Inflation Reduction Act

New York, N.Y. – Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) held a press call to applaud the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) transmission rules announced today. These rules, which Leader Schumer relentlessly advocated for strengthening, are essential to the clean energy revolution envisioned in Inflation Reduction Act.

“The clean energy incentives included in the Inflation Reduction Act have been a huge success.  But much of that success would be lost without the ability to bring power from places that generate renewable energy to communities all across the country.

“A new historic advancement in our transmission policies has been desperately needed and the rules released by FERC today will go a long way, a very long way to solving that problem. Simply put, these new rules will mean more low cost, reliable, clean energy for the places that need it most.

“As many of you know, last year I pushed FERC to deliver historic advancements in transmission policies that would lower costs and improve reliability by getting clean energy from where it is produced to where people live.

“I applaud FERC for recognizing the need to address this critical issue and acting to build upon the historic achievements of Senate Democrats to make our energy grid cheaper, cleaner and more reliable.

“These new rules together with the Inflation Reduction Act will deliver lower costs for American families, cleaner air for our communities, and a brighter future for the youngest generation and beyond. That's exactly what we need to see the clean energy revolution, we catalyze with the IRA come to fruition. FERC’s actions will fundamentally improve our power grid in the wake of the IRA.

“So let me now make a few points for you, these are personal points because you know how much I've cared about this.

“For me personally, this is a joyous day. The new rules released today are the culmination of more than five years of work to fight climate change. We began preparing to do a significant climate bill before even before Senate Democrats took the majority in 2021.

“We have done the work behind the scenes to be ready to hit the ground running. And the fruits of that are seen in the Inflation Reduction Act, the IRA, which was the most significant legislation ever to fight climate change.

“As many of you remember, I said throughout our drafting and then voting on the IRA, that our North Star was a 40% reduction in carbon emissions. While our model showed that we could reach that target with the IRA, we were still missing a key component: transmission. And as many of you know, we tried and tried to get transmission done legislatively through permitting reform. And this happened on the reconciliation bill, but when it was clear that Republicans—when it was clear that we couldn't do it in reconciliation. The parliamentarian said we couldn't do it.

“We tried to do it on the floor. We thought that Republicans who had always been for some kinds of transmission reform would support us, but when it was clear that they would stand in the way, we persisted and found another path through FERC.

“I always thought in the back of my mind that FERC would be an alternative if we couldn't get it through the Senate. And as you know, I sent the letter in July of 2023 to FERC pushing for the very rules that you're seeing adopted now. What FERC had previously done, they had a transmission rule in 2008, was weak and didn't do the job. Very little transmission was created through that old rule for a bunch of reasons. And that was not sufficient, particularly after the IRA, at the huge success the IRA had in in with the tax breaks, and encouraging people to do much more, produce much more wind and solar power.

“So the bottom line: this is the missing piece to the puzzle. This today is a monumental day in the fight against climate change, and it's going to help us unlock a new energy revolution.”