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Alexandra Klass

CPR Member Scholar; Professor of Law

Alexandra Klass | October 11, 2023

FERC, Electricity Transmission, and Clean Energy: Even Without New Legislation, Plenty to Do

Under the Federal Power Act, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has an obligation to maintain national grid reliability and to ensure “just and reasonable” rates for wholesale electricity sales and transmission. Notably, Congress has not granted FERC authority over the siting and permitting of most interstate transmission lines, as it has with interstate natural gas pipelines, leaving that authority over power lines primarily with the states. Even in the absence of congressional action, however, FERC has powerful tools using its existing statutory authority over rates and reliability to incentivize regulated transmission owners and grid planners to build the large-scale regional “macro-grid” the country needs.

Alexandra Klass, Hannah Wiseman | March 21, 2022

Bloomberg Law Op-Ed: Clean Energy Is Grid Reliability’s Best Hope, Not Enemy

The U.S. system for regulating electricity divides responsibility among too many players, assigns too many overlapping or competing tasks, and creates too many distorted incentives, a group of law professors says. They propose reforms that would break down governance silos to ensure greater collaboration in the clean energy transition.

Alexandra Klass | February 22, 2021

Lessons from the Texas Grid Disaster: Planning and Investing for a Different Future

It is now a week out from the start of the massive Texas grid failure that has resulted in numerous deaths; millions of people plunged into darkness; scores of communities without clean water or heat in record cold temperatures; and billions of dollars in catastrophic damage to homes, businesses and the physical infrastructure that supports them. Critical questions surround the causes of this massive disaster and how to plan for the future so that a tragedy of this scale does not happen again.

Alexandra Klass | July 21, 2020

Ellison extends a proud history: Holding ExxonMobil and Koch accountable

In late June, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison acted in the state's tradition of guarding the public interest when he filed a consumer protection lawsuit against three of the nation’s largest fossil fuel entities — ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and the American Petroleum Institute (API). In the lawsuit, he seeks to recover civil penalties and restitution for the harm to Minnesotans caused by these companies’ decades-long efforts to intentionally mislead the public about the relationship between fossil fuels, the climate crisis, and the resulting harm to public health, agriculture, infrastructure, and the environment.

Alexandra Klass | March 18, 2020

Public Lands and Just Energy Transitions

Our vast public lands and waters are both a major contributor to the global climate crisis and a potential solution to the problem. The extraction and use of oil and gas resources from public lands and waters produce 20 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If the public lands were its own nation, it would be the fifth largest global emitter of GHGs. The scale of this problem has been exacerbated by the current administration.

Alexandra Klass | November 20, 2018

Federalism ‘Collisions’ in Energy Policy

Originally published in The Regulatory Review. Reprinted with permission. Like many areas of law, energy policy in the United States is both national and local. The boundary lines delineating federal and state authority are not always clear, leading to tension and disagreement between federal and state authorities. When tensions get too high, Congress can, and often […]

Alexandra Klass | July 17, 2018

Duluth News Tribune Op-Ed: U-turn on Twin Metals a Massive Giveaway of Irreplaceable Public Resources

This op-ed originally ran in the Duluth News Tribune. Any Minnesotan who has ever dipped a canoe paddle, pitched a tent, or laced up a hiking boot while visiting the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness can tell you why it is the nation's most-visited wilderness area and considered a crown jewel of Minnesota. Unfortunately, Twin Metals, […]

Alexandra Klass | January 23, 2017

Uninformed and Unqualified: A Brief Run-Down of Rick Perry’s Energy Department Nomination

There are few reasons for the Senate to confirm former Texas Governor Rick Perry as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and many reasons to oppose his confirmation. He famously vowed to abolish the DOE when he ran for president in 2012 (along with several other federal agencies) but then could not even […]

Alexandra Klass | May 20, 2015

The Reality of U.S. Oil Transport

The major oil pipeline spills along the Santa Barbara coast and into the Yellowstone River in Montana this past year are only the most recent chapters in the growing list of major spills associated with oil transportation in the United States. These recent spills of 100,000 gallons and 50,000 gallons of oil, respectively, follow a […]