Energy Expert Available for Comment on Energy Bill

August 01, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ken Hurwitz, a former Executive Director of the Maryland Public Service Commission and currently the leader of the Energy and Power Practice Group for Haynes and Boone, LLP, one of the largest corporate law firms in the country, will offer guidance today on the Energy Policy Act of 2005 that is expected to be signed by President George W. Bush.

Hurwitz has over 25 years of energy-related experience before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, numerous state utility commissions and the federal appellate courts.  He has reviewed the energy bill passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate last week, and has made the following observations:

The 1724-page bill is the most comprehensive piece of energy legislation ever passed by Congress.  It gives incentives or provides federal dollars or creates new programs for the development of every conceivable source of energy, from next-generation nuclear, to geothermal and photovoltaic energy, to clean coal technology, to oil and gas drilled in the outer-Continental shelf, to electric transmission lines.

It repeals the depression-era Public Utility Holding Company Act, modifies the New Deal-enacted Natural Gas Act  and the Federal Power Act, strengthens the protections afforded the nuclear industry in the Price-Anderson Act of the early 1950s, overhauls the Carter-era Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act  of 1978 and improves the Energy Policy Act of 1992, all in the interest of promoting the development of energy infrastructure and the expansion of energy supplies.

The bill will enable the federal government to trump states, local governments and communities that have stood in the way of the development of needed electric transmission lines and LNG terminals.  In the wake of the August 2003 blackout, the bill ensures that vital electric transmission lines that often took a decade or more for states to review will no longer be held up by such bureaucratic delays.  The bill enables the FERC to bypass state licensing proceedings and streamline environmental review by other federal agencies.  The bill also clarifies the federal government’s authority over siting LNG terminals, ending a court challenge by the State of California to an LNG terminal proposed to be located in Long Beach Harbor and lessening the chances that local opposition will thwart other LNG projects in the future.

The bill will encourage billions of dollars of new capital to pour into the electric and gas industries, and will lead to a wave of utility mergers and acquisitions unseen since the 1920s and 1930s.  The bill removes a major impediment to investment in the electricity and natural gas industries by non-utility businesses, from private equity funds, to large manufacturing companies, to investment banks.  In addition, it removes geographic limits to the size of electric and gas utilities, and will spawn a tidal wave of new gas and electric utility acquisitions and mergers, such as Warren Buffett’s proposed acquisition of PacifiCorp, Duke Energy’s proposed merger with Cinergy and American Electric Power’s acquisition of Central and Southwest.  Ultimately, this phenomenon will also lead to major consolidations to occur in the non-utility sector among non-utility power companies.

Hurwitz has spent his career representing developers of power plants, transmission lines and other energy facilities, at both federal and state agencies.  He has also represented wind farm and landfill gas power plant developers and has published articles on the effects of the “Not-In-My-Backyard” syndrome on the country’s energy supplies.

A 1972 Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Columbia College of Columbia University, Hurwitz earned his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1976 and an Master’s of Business Administration that same year from the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce.

Haynes and Boone, LLP is an international law firm with 10 offices throughout Texas, Washington, D.C., Mexico City, Moscow and New York, providing a full spectrum of legal services to clients around the world.   With more than 450 attorneys, Haynes and Boone is ranked among the largest law firms in the nation by National Law Journal and American Lawyer.  The firm has been recognized as one of the "20 Best Law Firms to Work For" (Vault.com, 2004), one of the “Best Corporate Law Firms in America” (Corporate Board Member Magazine, 2001-2004) and recipient of the Minority Corporate Counsel Association’s 2002 Thomas L. Sager Award for commitment to diversity.

Interviews may be arranged by contacting Michael Patterson at Haynes and Boone at (214) 651-5193 or via email at: michael.patterson@haynesboone.com.

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