Supports Amendment to Restore Energy Funds to California Consumers
Washington, D.C. -- House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke this
afternoon on the House floor in support of an amendment sponsored
by Congresswoman Anna Eshoo of California to demand the release
of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission documents surrounding the
2000 and 2001 energy crisis in California and other Western states.
Below are Pelosi's remarks:
before I speak directly to the amendment on the floor, I want to
put it in context. Last night, Congresswoman Eshoo went to the Rules
Committee to request a waiver to offer an amendment that would help
Western families get the refunds they deserve after they were ripped
off by Enron and others.
amendment, as advanced last night, would have also allowed states
to participate in claims at FERC, on behalf of consumers, and would
have provided more time for the public to file complaints. The amendment
would have put this Congress on record recognizing the misconduct
of Enron and other energy companies, and it would have required
FERC to disclose the evidence of manipulation that it has accumulated
over the past four years.
a very wise amendment, and it was exactly what the consumers of
the Western states needed to remedy the injuries against them.
and it's hard to understand why, the Rules Committee, chaired by
Congressman David Dreier of California, did not allow that amendment
to be offered today. We are told this is an 'open' rule with open
debate, but the Rules Committee ruled against Western consumers
when it did not allow the original Eshoo amendment to come to the
floor. It did not give the consumers the measure they deserve.
is why I am pleased that we were able to bring at least a partial
amendment, and that Congressman Hobson, will accept this amendment
offered by Congresswoman Eshoo, Congressman DeFazio, and Congressman
Inslee. This much more limited amendment would ensure public access
to documents, held by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission,
on the 2000 and the 2001 electricity crisis in California and other
amendment is a crucial first step, not as good as the original amendment
would have been, but it is a critical first step in bringing justice
to consumers who were gouged by Enron and other energy companies.
But it is not enough.
my constituents and the constituents of those of us who represent
the Western states were victims of an enormous scam. Yes, the electricity
deregulation signed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson was fatally
flawed. But when the flaws became clear, when the electricity prices
began to spike, when the blackouts began to roll across California,
the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission should have been our safety
month after month, as electricity prices went sky-high, FERC refused
and time again, my Western colleagues and I stood together to call
on FERC and President Bush to stop the looting of the Western states
by rapacious energy companies. We wrote to FERC. We wrote to the
President. We stood up in the Appropriations Committee. We stood
up on the floor of the House. But, time and time again, FERC failed
to stop the rampant abuse of consumers by Enron and other energy
after Western consumers had lost billions of dollars, and the worst
of the damage was done, FERC stepped in and brought the Western
electricity markets under control.
all along that Enron and the energy companies were gaming the system.
The now notorious tapes, which every member of this body has an
obligation to observe, of Enron traders confirm what we knew all
along - Enron and the other energy companies were laughing all the
way to the bank us as they stole from families and businesses of
and its kind lied, cheated, and stole, and it is long past time
for Enron to pay consumers and the states back, as Congresswoman
Eshoo's amendment, that she offered last night but was turned down
by the Rules Committee, would have required. Even after adoption
of this amendment that we're considering today, settlements will
still be made by FERC behind closed doors without representatives
of the states present.
that we were voting today on the amendment we wanted, so that the
House could address the larger problem. But at least we are taking
this first step toward justice for consumers.
the House is unanimously agreeing that FERC release its evidence
of corporate misconduct to the public. That's what the Rules Committee
should have allowed us to do in a broader way last night, but they
rejected it. I call on the Republicans to join us in ensuring that
FERC live up to this bipartisan decision, and that it release this