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Sen Reid: FERC Needs Ability to Condemn Land, Site Power Lines

Aug 10, 2009 - Dow Jones

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on Monday offered his strongest call yet in favor of empowering federal regulators to decide where to build new power lines, saying that the authority was necessary to overcome roadblocks.

"I will not be satisfied with an energy bill unless it has a strong component that allows transmission," Reid said at a clean-energy summit that he sponsored. He accused the scores of regulators who have a say over where power lines are located of having a "stranglehold" over electricity. He said that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission needed the ability to seize land, if need be, in order to get power lines built.

Without new power lines to connect to customers, developers will not build new wind and solar facilities. That is a major reason that lawmakers such as Reid are intent on making it easier to build transmission lines, which typically get slowed amid opposition from residents who do not want to live near power lines.

-By Siobhan Hughes, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-862-6654; Siobhan.Hughes@ dowjones.com

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