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Mr. MYERS. That is roughly $1 million.
If you had $1 million to spend entirely on your own, would you spend it in this way?
Mr. O'LEARY. I want to tell you my function with regard to the FERC budget. I am a conduit of information. This is their budget. It is the five-member commission's choice of the requests they wish to make. They will be before you, I believe, within the next few days and
Mr. MYERS. But as Deputy Secretary you make requests for budgets. If
you were limited in your budget, and you were going to lose $1 million, where would you first take it out? Would you take it out of the program?
Mr. O'LEARY. It would really depend upon where I was going to lose
Mr. MYERS. I guess that is not a fair question. That is for us to decide.
Mr. McDONALD. Mr. O'Leary, I would just like to add that PURPA required the commission to establish
Mr. MYERS. I said, absent that requirement. You are not required to implement PURPA if you don't have any money.
I might ask one more question.
Who are some of the people that you are going to be paying to intervene?
Do you have typical groups?
Mr. McDonald. We are not quite sure of that. Chairman Curtis is in the process of establishing some guidelines and ground rules on this and to see just how this is to be handled. That is why the request was for only $200,000, because we felt that in 1979 there was a low probability that
of this would occur. In 1980 we felt that time would also be needed to get the guidelines, and that is why the request was at $750 thousand.
Mr. MYERS. I think you are going to be surprised if you start paying people to come and testify. You are going to have them stand in line.
Mrs. Boggs. Mr. McDonald, would you identify yourself for the record, please?
Mr. McDonald. My name is William McDonald, the Executive Director at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.
GAS PRODUCER AND PIPELINE CONTRACTS
Mrs. Boggs. Mr. Secretary, Secretary Schlesinger has accused the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of undermining the recent landmark natural gas legislation by altering the use of two controversial clauses in contracts between gas producers and pipelines.
In a letter of February 23 to Commissioner Curtis, he said that "Congress had expected the typical area rate clauses in their producer contracts would entitle them to collect maximum prices through the use of area rate clauses."
Continuing to quote the Secretary: "The Congress unquestionably intended to replace often changing commission-determined prices with statutorily mandated prices."
Continuing to quote: "To suggest now that these mandated prices will not apply to the only means of securing price increases under
existing contract undermines the objective of certainty inherent in the Act.”
Would you like to comment on that?
Mr. O'LEARY. I think the Secretary's comment speaks for itself. You understand that the reason that I described myself as a conduit here is that we do not exercise supervision over the Commission in the areas in which it has its own statutory charter. This is one of those areas. My understanding is that, in response to this letter, the Commission is reconsidering its stand upon this matter.
And am I right in believing that they made some public statement to the extent that they accepted the Secretary's view?
Mr. McDONALD. Yes. Mr. ()'LEARY. I think that there is some progress on this, Madam Chairman.
Mrs. Boggs. Thank you very much. We will question FERC a little more in detail.
Mr. Secretary, Mr. Jenrette was unable to be here today, but has a question he would like answered for the record.
[The question and answer follow:]
Question. Could you clarify for the record the status of rental car agencies under your proposed standby conservation plans on weekend gasoline sale restrictions and gasoline rationing.
If weekend gas sales restrictions are imposed under Standby Plan No. 1, would the operations of gasoline wholesalers in any way be affected? Would they still be permitted to sell motor fuels to commercial customers such as rental agencies? Would a rental agency be permitted to transfer gasoline so obtained to its own customers? Would the vehicles operated by a rental agency fall within any of the nine categories of vehicles which, under Section 3 of the Plan, are exempted from the weekend sales restrictions ? What about Categories B and C, in particular?
Similarly, if the gasoline rationing plan were imposed, would a rental car agency be able to obtain gasoline from its wholesaler and fuel the cars rented? Would it be able to transfer fuel to its customers ?
Would a rental car agency be able to obtain ration coupons on the basis of the number of valid registrations it possessed, the same as private individuals? Would it be able to transfer these to its customers ?
Answer. Gasoline wholesalers would be permitted to sell motor fuels to commercial customers such as rental agencies. However, our tentative view is that a rental agency would not be permitted to transfer gasoline to its customers during the period covered by the distribution restrictions. Vehicles operated by a rental agency would not be exempted from the restrictions under Section 3 of the Plan.
Under rationing, a rental car agency would receive gasoline from its established sources of supply and could transfer this fuel to its customers. A rental car agency would obtain ration allotments for each properly registered motor vehicle owned and could transfer these rights to its customers. Mrs. Boggs. Thank you very much, Mr. Secretary. I thank all of you. Mr. O'LEARY. It has been a pleasure. Mrs. Boggs. We will take about a 5-minute recess. [Recess.]
Water Resources Council..