Hoang Dang


In this article, winner of the Journal of Land Use & Environmental Law's Patsy Ford & David Bloodworth Memorial Scholarship, the author discusses the problems facing the electric industry as the chains of monopolistic power and intense regulation are removed and the industry is transformed into a deregulated and competitive market. Looking back at key pieces of federal legislation and regulation, the author maps out the road that was intended to lead to a healthy array of increased competition and significant benefits to consumers but, instead, delivered the industry into a quandary of transmission congestion, safety risks, and negation of consumer savings. The author then discusses the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's efforts to respond to this problem through the development of regional transmission organizations (RTOs), intended to be responsible for the planning and expansion of transmission lines, and the barriers impeding federal efforts to effectuate positive change through construction and expansion of transmission lines. Next, the author provides the reader with a thorough discussion of proposed solutions to the current state of affairs and recommends a proposal involving a combination of state reform measures and federal preemption. Finally, the author progresses into an analysis of the constitutional implications of her recommended solution under the Commerce Clause and Tenth Amendment and concludes that retention of exclusive control over transmission siting by the states is not in the best interest of an industry having significant national implications and that amendment to federal legislation is both necessary and feasible to solve the electric industry's quandary of transmission congestion, safety risks, and waste of consumer benefits.