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Senator PEARSON. And thereafter about all you can ask about is money.
Senator TYDINGS. That is right.
Senator PEARSON. And that is the case in Maryland.
Senator PEARSON. So your bill would give discretion to the Secretary of the Interior, on a line 150 miles long. If it were changed away from Antietam, it might run through another national monument or park, as a hypothetical case?
Senator TYDINGS. That is conceivable.
Senator PEARSON. It is just discretionary with the Secretary of the Interior.
Senator TYDINGS. That is right. But he is required to hold a public hearing before making his decision.
Senator PEARSON. But he could hold the construction and location was proper and in the national interest, considering all of the values? Senator TYDINGS. That is right.
Senator PEARSON. I am very grateful to the Senator.
The CHAIRMAN. Thank you, Senator.
Senator TYDINGS. Thank you, Senator Magnuson.
The CHAIRMAN. The next witness is Chairman of the Federal Power Commission, Lee White.
STATEMENT OF HON. LEE C. WHITE, CHAIRMAN, FEDERAL POWER COMMISSION; ACCOMPANIED BY JOHN A. CARVER, VICE CHAIRMAN; LAWRENCE J. O'CONNOR, JR., COMMISSIONER; CARL E. BAGGE, COMMISSIONER; RICHARD A. SOLOMON, GENERAL COUNSEL; DAVID J. BARDIN, ASSISTANT GENERAL COUNSEL; AND F. STEWART BROWN, CHIEF ENGINEER, BUREAU OF POWER
The CHAIRMAN. All right, we will hear from the Chairman of the Federal Power Commission.
Will you introduce for the record the people with you?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, Mr. Chairman.
To my far left at the table is Commissioner John Carver, who is the Vice Chairman of the Federal Power Commission during calendar year 1967.
Immediately to my left is Commissioner O'Connor. To my right is Commissioner Carl Bagge. To his right is Mr. Richard Solomon, who is the Commission's General Counsel. And to his right is Mr. David Bardin, the Assistant General Counsel in charge of legislation at the Commission. Also in the room and now joining us is Mr. Stewart Brown, who is the Commission's Chief Engineer and the head of our Bureau of Power, a man who would play a key role under the bill.
The CHAIRMAN. If this bill is enacted in some form, he will be the important person, wouldn't he?
Mr. WHITE. We Commissioners would certainly look to him, but the responsibility would be ours.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. Do you have a written statement?
Mr. WHITE. Yes, sir. It is in two sections: a rather general section which I would like to read for the record, and a much more detailed section, which we would like to have inserted as a part of the record.
The CHAIRMAN. All right. This is a very important matter and I think the committee wants to be as well informed as possible.
Mr. WHITE. Indeed it is, and that is why we have present here four members of the Commission-Commissioner Ross is out of town and unable to be present. However, he has asked me to indicate his support and I am sure the committee is aware this bill comes to the Congress with the unanimous recommendation of the FPC. As the committee also knows, we are not always unanimous on such major issues as a fundamental proposal to amend and extend considerably the Federal Power Act under which we function.
The CHAIRMAN. May I ask, Is that your map over there [indicating]? Mr. WHITE. That was prepared by the commission staff, Mr. Chairman. Under the overlay is a map of the United States, showing the major transmission lines as of the middle of 1965. The overlay that is visible indicates the major power failures that have occurred since the blackout of November 9, 1965, in the Northeast, plus the failure that occurred in the area in the middle of the country, encompassing Iowa and Nebraska, in the year before the Northeast power failure. Between November 1965 and the present there have been 20 major power failures, 17 of them have the characteristics of cascading power failures, where systems impact on each other and then create a total or partial system collapse.
The map offers a graphic illustration of the national character of the problem. It is not the province of any particular section of the country.
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
Mr. WHITE. We welcome this opportunity to appear before the committee in support of the Electric Power Reliability Act, S. 1934, introduced by yourself and 18 other Members of the Senate at the unanimous request of the Federal Power Commission.1
The bill seeks direct solutions to the problem of reliability of electric bulk power supply, discussed by the President in his state of the Union message and in the special message on consumer affairs. Our transmittal letter, submitting the bill, carries the advice that "the enactment of this bill would be in accord with the program of President." The committee is aware of the President's personal concern for this legislation to strengthen the reliability of the bulk power supply of the country.
The President has aptly observed the extent of the Nation's dependence on electric power in the consumer message transmitted to the Congress on February 16, 1967:
We have become almost totally reliant on electric power and on the systems that carry it to our homes, offices, factories, and farms. The Northeast blackout in November 1965-affecting 30 million people in six States and Canada-was a spectacular reminder of how vital an uninterrupted flow of electric power is to our safety, defense, health, and convenience. Subsequent power failures of lesser magnitude elsewhere in the country have intensified the concern of every citizen. The Nation's dependence on electric power requires further efforts to assure that service becomes even more reliable in the future.
1 The cosponsors are Senators Muskie, Aiken, Bartlett, Brewster, Clark, Gruening, Jackson, Kennedy of Massachusetts, Kennedy of New York, Long of Missouri, Magnuson, Metcalf, Moss, Pastore, Pell, Ribicoff, Tydings, Williams of New Jersey, and Young of Ohio.
The subsequent PJM Middle Atlantic power failure fully confirmed this assessment. The committee has printed the transcript of the hearings held on June 6, the day after the PJM blackout.
Mr. Chairman, as you appreciate, the Commission has met in recent weeks with many members of the electric utility industry and other interested persons to explain and discuss the Electric Power Reliability Act. As you will recall, Mr. Chairman, we discussed this and I indicated to you that this was the course of action we would follow. Prior to submission to the Congress for its review, the bill itself was not discussed with any outside organization. The interest in the legislation resulting from the Middle Atlantic blackout and its great complexity convinced us it was not the type of bill on which we could secure a consensus in any reasonable period of time. Thus we elected to submit the bill to the Congress and ask that it be considered in proper order and since that time we have met with every segment of the industry to seek their criticism, views, comments, and reactions. And certainly your reference earlier this morning to regional hearings indicate that this is a major proposal that merits very careful attention by all who have an interest in this industry.
The CHAIRMAN. I just want to reiterate that a bill of this magnitude and complexity necessarily must go through many hearings and suggestions, modifications, to make the objective effective in the future. And that is what we intend to do.
Most bills, like this one, are working papers to us.
Mr. WHITE. We have submitted it, Mr. Chairman, as a workable document. We could not submit it with the assumption that it required some drastic revision, because we have a primary obligation to the Congress to submit something that we believe is rational and workable.
The CHAIRMAN. We have to look at it--we want the bill to be practical, we want it to work. And you can't always do that by just passing a law. This big job has to be a cooperative effort in my opinion, with everybody concerned, from the Government on down.
Mr. WHITE. In our talks with various industry groups we have made it clear that in our view this is a major public policy issue. In our society, it is the U.S. Congress that resolves public policy issues. We have submitted a major and earnest and sincere proposal. We also believe it is workable and practicable, but this is now for others to consider I think this is the spirit in which this hearing is being held and in which others will be held as well.
The CHAIRMAN. That is correct.
Mr. WHITE. This complex industry deals in an intricate technology, involving numerous utilities and rival sectors. We have gone into the bill in great detail with the interested parties and I believe these sessions have been most constructive. My prepared statement--the one I characterized as the detailed statement-embraces a full discussion of each section of the bill with special attention to those aspects which were of concern to those persons intimately involved in the workings of the industry. I trust that the full statement may appear in the record but I shall not attempt to read it all this morning. Instead, let me outline the fundamental problem as we see it.
The CHAIRMAN. We will put that in the record in full.