Large electric utilities, industry groups lobbying for proposed REINS Act that would require U.S. Congress to approve all new federal regulations having financial impact of US$100M or more, such as those affecting power generators, says Public Citizen

LOS ANGELES , August 10, 2011 () – The major force supporting passage of proposed federal legislation that would allow the U.S. Congress to block new federal regulations are large electric utilities and industry groups, Public Citizen indicated today, reported Platts on Aug. 9.

Among the 27 organizations that reported in first-half 2011 lobbying for the Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, known as the REINS Act, are 16 electric utilities and the Edison Electric Institute, according to Public Citizen.

Also lobbying for the bill are Southern Co., Duke Energy Holding Corp., Xcel Energy Inc., Constellation Energy Group Inc., FirstEnergy Corp., Progress Energy Inc., DTE Energy Corp., MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co. and the Ohio Municipal Electric Association, among others, Platts reported.

While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers also are lobbying for the legislation, the National Federation of Independent Businesses did not list the REINS Act among the issues for which it is lobbying, noted Public Citizen.

Congress has stated that the bill would protect small businesses, but Public Citizen believes that electric utilities stand to gain the most if the REINS Act passes, said Public Citizen Regulatory Policy Advocate Amit Narang in an interview on Tuesday, reported Platts.

The legislation, introduced in February by Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Geoff Davis, both Kentucky Republicans, would require that Congress approve all new regulations having a financial impact of over US$100 million.

If that approval were not to come within 70 legislative days, the proposed regulations would be held over until the next congressional session. The legislation has 24 Republican co-sponsors, Platts reported.

When introducing the bill, Paul said it is intended to “increase accountability for and transparency in the federal regulatory process,” and mentioned the Environmental Protection Agency and the Federal Communications Commission in his statement.

Public Citizen said that groups supporting the REINS Act spent a total of about $52 million on all issues they lobbied for, compared with the $1.5 million spent for all lobbying efforts by groups opposing the bill, reported Platts.

Public Citizen, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C., is a nonprofit watchdog organization that is supported solely by foundation grants, publication sales and support from its over 80,000 members, according to its website.

The primary source of this article is Platts, New York, New York, on Aug. 9, 2011.

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