Washington (March 15, 2021) – Edison Electric Institute (EEI) President Tom Kuhn today issued the following statement:
“EEI congratulates Department of the Interior (DOI) Secretary Deb Haaland on her Senate confirmation, and we commend her for her continued commitment to public service.
“EEI and our member companies are leading a clean energy transformation, and DOI plays a vital role in siting and permitting much of the critical energy infrastructure we need to build to deliver this clean energy to the customers and communities we serve. At all levels, energy infrastructure siting and permitting processes must be improved, and we look forward to working with Secretary Haaland and her team to identify opportunities to make improvements.
“Across the country, America’s electric companies also are making investments to maintain and protect existing energy infrastructure, which often involves accessing and renewing permits for rights-of-way. This remains a challenging process, despite the need to conduct critical vegetation management. Working collaboratively with DOI and the U.S. Forest Service, we have enhanced our vegetation management practices, including removing trees outside of our rights-of-way, but there is more work for us to do together, especially given the increasing wildfire risk.
“EEI’s CEO Wildfire Task Force and the Electricity Subsector Coordinating Council’s (ESCC’s) Wildfire Working Group, which includes EEI member companies, electric cooperatives, and public power utilities, are focused on mitigation efforts, detection, and response as part of our comprehensive wildfire strategy.
“These efforts are not a one-time investment and will be part of our core industrywide objectives for ensuring public safety for the foreseeable future. Collectively, the industry has improved its real-time, situational awareness capabilities. We are investing heavily in sensors, high-definition cameras, and weather stations that are placed in the field to give companies near real-time conditions.
“DOI is an essential partner for the ESCC’s Wildfire Working Group, and we look forward to working with Secretary Haaland and the DOI team to build a cleaner, smarter, and stronger energy future for all Americans.”