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FERC chair defends grid rule in post-Chevron era

By Zach Bright | 07/02/2024 06:37 AM EDT

But the commission’s lone Republican asserts the rule’s chance of survival “just shrank to slim to none.”

Willie Phillips speaks.

Willie Phillips, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Francis Chung/POLITICO

Willie Phillips, chair of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, on Monday weighed into discussions happening across the federal government about how the Supreme Court’s Chevron ruling could make it harder for agencies to defend regulations.

For Phillips, the issue is FERC’s recent rule known as Order 1920 aimed at changing how regional electric transmission is planned and paid for across the country.

Phillips expressed confidence that the commission’s rule can survive challenges based on its merits. The chair called FERC’s authority over regional transmission planning “essential” to ensuring Americans can access and afford electricity. That, he said, remains the agency’s “most fundamental statutory responsibility.”

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“Nothing in the Supreme Court’s Loper Bright decision overturning the Chevron doctrine calls that conclusion into question,” said Phillips, a Democrat.

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