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New Mexico senator introduces transmission legislation

Federal regulators would have narrow authority to approve new electric transmission lines in certain circumstances under a measure introduced in Congress.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich says his bill would ensure that transmission projects get timely regulatory approvals. The New Mexico Democrat says that’s critical, especially when multiple jurisdictions are involved.

Under an order issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, transmission providers must participate in a regional planning process and develop methods for allocating the costs of a new regional transmission facility among those who will use or benefit from it.

Heinrich’s bill would require developers of new priority regional transmission projects to first seek approval from local or state authorities. If approval doesn’t come within a year, the bill would allow FERC to step in and provide backstop authority.

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