Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who Will Be the U.S. Carbon Czar? FERC? CFTC? Me?

This is going to be the talk of the headlines and more importantly "Gucci Gulch"* so I thought I'd use this post to bookmark some of our links.
First up, the Wikipedia page on Regulatory Capture:

Regulatory capture is a term used to refer to situations in which a government regulatory agency created to act in the public interest instead acts in favor of the commercial or special interests that dominate in the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.

For public choice theorists, regulatory capture occurs because groups or individuals with a high-stakes interest in the outcome of policy or regulatory decisions can be expected to focus their resources and energies in attempting to gain the policy outcomes they prefer, while members of the public, each with only a tiny individual stake in the outcome, will ignore it altogether. When this imbalance of focused resources devoted to a particular policy outcome is successful at "capturing" influence with the staff or commission members of a regulatory agency so that the preferred policy outcomes of the special interest are implemented, then regulatory capture has occurred....MORE

A quick overview from the Houston Chronicle:

Update -- Who's the CO2 boss: FERC or CFTC?

As Bloomberg reports U.S. Representative Edward Markey (D-Mass.) says his House Energy and Environment Subcommittee should be in charge. Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said his House Agriculture Committee is the right home for CO2.

Depending on which lawmaker prevails, the market would be monitored by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which is overseen by a subcommittee headed by Markey, or the Commodity Futures Trading Commission under the supervision of the Peterson's committee.

The winner would be the rule-maker for the trillion-plus dollars in annual trades expected by 2020 and "influence the operations of companies from American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of electricity from coal, to Goldman Sachs Group Inc., which would compete with other banks to handle companies' carbon portfolios."...

...The politicians would gain one other benefit if it was their committee and key agency in charge:

"Campaign contributions tend to flow to members of committees with jurisdiction over legislation or regulations that affect particular industries.">>>MORE

The Bloomberg article referenced above:

From E&E Publishing:

ENERGY MARKETS: House climate bill adds fuel to FERC, CFTC turf battle


CLIMATE: Group promotes CFTC oversight of carbon markets

Via the Climate + Energy Project blog, some backround:

NYTimes - Feature on FERC Chair Wellinghoff

Curve ball from FERC Chairman Wellinghoff - no future nukes or coal may be needed to firm renewables on the grid

*Gucci Gulch -- The Capitol corridors where well-paid lobbyists wearing fancy, Italian-styled, Gucci shoes, mingle with members of Congress. Term from the book Showdown at Gucci Gulch -- Lawmakers, Lobbyists, and the Unlikely Triumph of Tax Reform, by Jeffrey Birnbaum and Allen Murray. Source

We've got around fifty links including PDF's we'll break out as this heats up.
The early money is not on me to regulate this particular asylum, I'm a bit too ______ (fill in the blank!) for some folks tastes