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From the Committee

Feb 29, 2024
Chair Rodgers Opening Remarks on Supporting Patients with Rare Diseases

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee legislative hearing on proposals to support patients with rare diseases. 

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“I’m glad we’re gathered on Rare Disease Day to examine legislation to help move forward efforts to promote innovation for people with rare diseases and make sure all patients can benefit from all the exciting innovation that is happening. 

“We’re going to take action for patients, like Hunter Davis, a 12-year-old with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1, whose mother, Khrystal, is here today. 

“There are over 10,000 known rare diseases affecting an estimated 30 million Americans, like Hunter. 

“However, only about 500 of these diseases have FDA-approved treatments. 

“But now more than ever, there is increasing hope with new genetically targeted technologies, cell and gene therapies, and many more innovations being researched and developed, some of which we will hear about today.” 


“We’ve made progress on fostering innovation to find rare disease treatments, but there’s still a lot of work to be done. 

“Prior to the passage of the Orphan Drug Act just over forty years ago, only 38 orphan drugs were FDA approved. 

“Compare that to 2023 alone, when 40 novel, orphan-designated drugs and biologics were approved by the FDA, many of them potentially curative. 

“Our job is to make sure the FDA is ready, and the market continues to foster innovation that leads to treatments and cures for patients. 

“I am concerned that if we don’t continue to encourage investment in rare disease efforts, we will be harming the potential for the development of life-changing treatments. 

“Many of the bills before us seek to provide the regulatory clarity necessary to ensure that novel therapies, and in some cases, cures, continue to become accessible to patients as rapidly as possible. 

“As we work to carry out that mission, we must carefully examine all of the legislation before us today to ensure it doesn't have the opposite effect and stifle innovation.” 


“Additionally, we need to make sure that once drugs are approved that patients can actually access them. 

“One issue that we’ll discuss today is how treatment options for certain diseases are often concentrated at or limited to centers of excellence. 

“In many instances, access may come down to whether patients can afford to travel across the country or stay in a different city for weeks at a time to receive the lifesaving care that they need. 

“Congressman Guthrie’s draft Patient Access Act would help make these costs more manageable so that patients, and in the case of a child, a parent, can travel to get the care that they need by allowing for drug manufacturers to directly support patients’ incidental costs for travel. 

“Meanwhile, Congresswoman Miller-Meeks's Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act would cut red tape that restricts a pediatrician’s ability to get paid by Medicaid to treat kids who are enrolled in a different state’s Medicaid program.” 


“There are also three bills we’ll discuss today that amend the Inflation Reduction Act’s drug pricing scheme. 

“While I recognize members of this committee have differing opinions on the best way to ensure Americans have access to innovative, lifesaving cures, I hope we can set some of those broader disagreements aside and focus on what’s best for rare disease patients. 

“Because the process that led to the IRA’s drug price setting scheme was so rushed, I don’t think everyone fully understood how some changes could have devastating impacts on the rare disease community. 

“Last Congress, after rejecting H.R. 3 with bipartisan opposition, this Committee did not get the opportunity to explore the potential consequences of the IRA’s new scheme. 

“I am hopeful that today we do what this committee is known for and work in a bipartisan way to address some of the consequences that have come to light since its passage. 

“These three bipartisan bills before us today are a first step to doing so. 

“This committee has a long history of working together to support innovation, including things like the 21st Century Cures Act and multiple FDA user fee reauthorizations. We must continue to build on this work, and that is exactly what we are doing today.

“I look forward to learning what more we can do from our witnesses and finding where the committee can move forward with bipartisan legislation to help families all across this country.”

More News & Announcements

Feb 29, 2024

Subcommittee Chair Guthrie Opening Remarks on Supporting Patients with Rare Diseases

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s subcommittee hearing on proposals to support patients with rare diseases.  “Thank you to our witnesses for being here today to discuss such an important topic.  “The legislation before us will take an important step in helping to support rare disease patients.  “The Orphan Drug Act defines a rare disease as a disease that affects less than 200,000 patients across the United States. According to the National Institutes of Health, there are over 10,000 known diseases that fit this definition, impacting as many as 30 million Americans.”   RARE DISEASE PATIENTS LACK ACCESS TO TREATMENTS   “Despite 10 percent of the U.S. population living with a rare disease, about 95 percent of these diseases lack treatments.  “Most patients can’t even begin to think about treatments until they are diagnosed, which can be a long and costly journey, only to discover there are limited treatment options, if any.   “Research and development into therapies designed to treat rare diseases is challenging, especially when it comes to measuring the safety and efficacy of drugs for a smaller patient population, making investments in rare disease therapies risky and unpredictable.   “Recognizing these hurdles, Congress has taken numerous steps over the years to better support every stage along the drug approval pipeline, from supporting basic research for rare diseases, to improving the process by which drugs seek and receive FDA approval for rare disease indications, to ensuring that payers like Medicare and Medicaid will cover these treatments when they come to market.  “For example, Congress authorized the pediatric rare disease priority review voucher program at FDA almost a decade ago, to bolster existing incentives created under the Orphan Drug Act.  “The priority review voucher reduces the financial risk for innovators to obtain resources needed to conduct critical rare disease research, which ultimately helps patients access therapies or treatments more quickly.  “That’s why reauthorizing the pediatric rare disease priority review voucher program, the Creating Hope Reauthorization Act, is so important.  “Since its inception, almost 50 priority review vouchers have been granted that have paved the way for groundbreaking therapies that may otherwise not have made it to patients.    “I would like to thank my colleagues on the committee for their bipartisan work on this issue.”  BIPARTISAN SOLUTIONS TO PROTECT ACCESS TO TREATMENT   “We are also considering bipartisan solutions to ensure access to treatments for rare disease patients by promoting certainty and consistency through the regulatory and reimbursement process.   “First, we have the Accelerating Kids Access to Care Act, led by Representative Miller-Meeks, which will streamline care for kids in Medicaid by making it easier for them to receive necessary care by a provider in another state.  “This is a concern for children who must travel out of state to centers of excellence to get the care they need for rare diseases.”  THE PATIENT ACCESS ACT AND THE MVP ACT   “We also are considering my discussion draft, the Patient Access Act, which removes burdensome regulations that make it harder for patients to access life-saving therapies.  “In some cases, patients and their families must travel significant distances to receive therapies that also require lengthy stays, leaving the patient and their families responsible for hotels, food, and other important expenses while they miss work or other obligations.  “My bill would amend Anti-kickback Statute by permitting manufacturers to pay for these incidentals in very limited circumstances to make accessing these critical therapies easier for patients and their families.  “Both bills build off this Committee’s important work in passing the Protecting Health Care for All Patients Act to ban discriminatory barriers for those with disabilities to access life-saving health care services and by passing my bill, the MVP Act, which provides access to curative cell-and-gene therapies for Medicaid patients.   “Finally, as part of our efforts to increase access to life-saving therapies, we’re considering very narrow statutory fixes that would help ensure patients maintain access to lifesaving, affordable cures to treat rare diseases.”  CONSTRUCTIVE POLICY FIXES TO THE IRA   “The Mini Act, the Orphan Cures Act, and the PLASMA Act all make changes to the Inflation Reduction Act that would provide innovators working in complex disease spaces with more runway as they invest in research areas.  “I hope we can have a constructive conversation today and set aside our broader disagreements regarding the IRA to see how these small policy fixes can have big impacts for patients.   “In closing, while none of these bills serve as a silver bullet to solving all the challenging problems faced by rare disease patients, they are important steps and will make a meaningful difference in the lives of the millions of Americans living with rare diseases.”

Chair Rodgers Speaks on House Floor to Advance American Nuclear Energy Leadership

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) delivered the following remarks on the House Floor in support of H.R. 6544, the Atomic Energy Advancement Act . The bipartisan legislation, led by Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) and Subcommittee Ranking Member Diana DeGette (D-CO), will encourage and support advancements in nuclear energy by modernizing and improving the current processes at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.  “I urge support of the Atomic Energy Advancement Act.” “I rise in strong support of this legislation, H.R. 6544, the ‘Atomic Energy Advancement Act.’  “We have worked very hard, and most agree that a robust and growing nuclear industry is critical for reducing emissions, providing reliable, affordable, clean energy to Americans.  “Nuclear energy can help us build durable economic and strategic relationships around the world, especially as the influence of China and Russia in this industry grows.    “We know our allies are eager for American leadership and technology, and our nuclear industry is ready to lead.   “The Energy and Commerce Committee has a rich history of plowing the hard ground necessary to legislate and coming together on solutions that improve people’s lives and make our country stronger and prosperous.  “H.R. 6544 continues that leadership, and I’m grateful for the leadership of the Chairman of the Subcommittee, Jeff Duncan, as well as the Ranking Member, Diana DeGette, and the Ranking Member of the Full Committee, Frank Pallone, for working together so we can move this legislation forward and help maintain a robust and growing nuclear industry, which is vital to delivering reliable, affordable, and clean energy to all Americans.    “This much needed modernization of our regulatory framework will restore America’s nuclear dominance, encourage innovation, enable industry to deploy safe, reliable nuclear energy, and usher in a new era of U.S. energy leadership.

Feb 28, 2024

Chair Rodgers, Rep. Joyce, and Senators Capito and Mullin to EPA: Reject California’s Harmful, Illegal Attempt to Ban New Gas-Powered Cars

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Vice Chair of the Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), along with Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee Ranking Member Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) and Ranking Member of the Chemical Safety, Waste Management, Environmental Justice, and Regulatory Oversight Subcommittee Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), urged the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reject California’s attempt to mandate an all-electric vehicle economy that eliminates purchasing options for Americans and makes the U.S. more reliant on China. In a bicameral letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan, the four lawmakers warned of the legal and economic consequences of granting a Clean Air Act waiver request from the state of California, which would enable the state to require 35 percent of automobile sales to be zero-emission vehicles in model year 2026, and finally, 100 percent of them by 2035. “California has not proven any uniquely Californian impacts from greenhouse gas emissions are sufficient to justify that ACC II [the waiver] is necessary to meet ‘compelling and extraordinary conditions.’ Yet, California moves forward with a rule that not only limits purchase options for vehicles, but also costs workers’ jobs in other states that have not adopted the California vehicle standards. Last year, Stellantis put 3,600 workers in Ohio and Michigan on notice that they could lose their jobs if the EPA approves the California waiver request,” the members wrote. Read the full letter here .

Trending Subcommittees

Communications & Technology

4 Updates

Electronic communications, both Interstate and foreign, including voice, video, audio and data, whether transmitted by wire or wirelessly, and whether transmitted by telecommunications, commercial or private mobile service, broadcast, cable, satellite, microwave, or other mode; technology generally; emergency and public safety communications; cybersecurity, privacy, and data security; the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the Office of Emergency Communications in the Department of Homeland Security; and all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security.

Energy, Climate, & Grid Security

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National Energy Policy, energy infrastructure and security, energy related Agencies and Commissions, all laws, programs, and government activities affecting energy matters. National Energy Policy focuses on fossil energy; renewable energy; nuclear energy; energy conservation, utility issues, including but not limited to interstate energy compacts; energy generation, marketing, reliability, transmission, siting, exploration, production, efficiency, cybersecurity, and ratemaking for all generated power. Energy infrastructure and security focuses on pipelines, the strategic petroleum reserve, nuclear facilities, and cybersecurity for our nation’s grid. Our jurisdiction also includes all aspects of the above-referenced jurisdiction related to the Department of Homeland Security. Agencies and Commissions in our jurisdiction include: The US Department of Energy, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission; and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Environment, Manufacturing, & Critical Materials

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All matters related to soil, air, noise and water contamination; emergency environmental response, both physical and cybersecurity. In particular, the subcommittee has jurisdiction over The Nuclear Waste Policy Act, The Clean Air Act, The Safe Drinking Water Act, Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act – including Superfund and the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act, The Solid Waste Disposal Act, The Toxic Substance Control Act and The Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards Program. Under the Clean Air Act, this subcommittee deals with National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for criteria pollutants; National Emissions Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants (NESHAP) Standards; New Source Performance Standards (NSPS); Mobile Source Standards for vehicles, aircraft, fuels and fuel additives, including the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles. The subcommittee focuses on the regulation of solid, hazardous, and nuclear wastes, including mining, nuclear, oil, gas, and coal combustion waste.

Recent Letters

Feb 27, 2024
Press Release

Chairs Rodgers and Carter Press EPA For Answers Over Hiring Nearly 2,000 New Agency Employees

Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Environment, Manufacturing, and Critical Materials Subcommittee Chair Buddy Carter (R-GA) wrote to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael Regan regarding the agency’s recent hiring blitz. The radical and partisan Inflation Reduction Act gave the EPA an unprecedented funding boost, which has led to the hiring of nearly 2,000 new agency employees.   As first reported by Breitbart:   “House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) have requested detailed information about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) plans to carry out President Joe Biden’s climate change agenda.” […] “Despite their names, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as well as the Inflation Reduction Act both contain massive carveouts to boost the green industry.   “In a similar fashion, the $700 billion Inflation Reduction Act would spend hundreds of billions of dollars on climate change.”   The Chairs are seeking answers to the following questions:  The total number of employees working at the EPA’s headquarters. Please include a breakdown of the total number of full time equivalent (FTE) employees at each level of the General Schedule (GS) pay scale, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of employees working in each EPA regional office. Please include a breakdown of the total number of FTE employees at each level of the GS pay scale, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of FTE employees, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, employed within each of the following: Office of the Administrator, Office of Air and Radiation, Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention, Office of the Chief Financial Officer, Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, Office of Environmental Justice and External Civil Rights, Office of General Counsel, Office of Inspector General, Office of International and Tribal Affairs, Office of Land and Emergency Management, Office of Mission Support, Office of Research and Development, and the Office of Water. Please include a breakdown of the total number of employees at each level of the GS pay scale in the various offices, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  Regarding the Office of Research and Development, please provide the total number of employees within each of the following: Office of Science Advisor, Policy, and Engagement, Center for Environmental Measurement and Modeling, Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure, Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment, and the Center for Environmental Solutions and Emergency Response, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of employees in each Program Office Laboratory and Regional Laboratory, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds, and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  A breakdown of Offices where the 1,977 new employees are employed, the level of the GS pay scale at which they were hired, and whether any of them are contractors paid with EPA funds.  The number of employees that left the agency in 2023, including a breakdown of the GS scale for departing employees, as well as any contractors paid with EPA funds.    The total number of contractors working for the EPA and how these numbers have changed since January 2021.  The total number of EPA special consultants who are compensated under 42 USC 209(f).  CLICK HERE to read the full article from Breitbart. CLICK HERE to read the full letter. 

Feb 26, 2024

E&C Republican Leaders Demand Answers on the Biden Administration’s Ineffective EV Infrastructure Program

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA), Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC), and Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee Chair Morgan Griffith (R-VA) sent a letter to Department of Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm and Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg regarding growing concerns over the Biden administration’s inability to implement the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula and the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure (CFI) Discretionary Grant programs, as well as the implications for American taxpayers. KEY QUOTE:   “The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) provided $5 billion for the NEVI Formula Program ($1 billion annually from FY22-FY26), and a total of $2.5 billion from FY22-FY26 for the CFI Discretionary Grant Program. Despite recent award announcements, little progress has been made in the buildout of electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure. On December 15, 2023, the Department of Energy and Department of Transportation announced the opening of America’s first EV fast charging stations funded through the NEVI Formula Program: in Ohio and New York. This announcement for merely eight charging stations comes more than two years after the passage of the IIJA.  “The problems with these programs continue to grow – delays in the delivery of chargers, concerns from States about labor contracting requirements and minimum operating standards for chargers, the fact that 22 States (44 percent) have not issued solicitations for NEVI funding, and the limited and questionable delivery of awards from the CFI Discretionary Grant Program.”  Members asked Secretaries Granholm and Buttigieg to answer the following questions by March 7, 2024: How many EV chargers does the administration expect to be constructed using NEVI Formula Program and CFI Discretionary Grant Program funds in 2024?   Because private sector deployment of EV chargers is outpacing the federal government, how is the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation updating its review of State plans to ensure federal dollars do not overbuild private sector investments?   In the Federal Highway Administration’s January 11, 2024, press release, it stated, “More than 70 percent of the CFI funding announced today will support project sites in disadvantaged communities.” Understanding EVs are extremely cost prohibitive for many, expensive to maintain, and have high insurance costs, can you please share how the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation is ensuring charging stations being awarded will receive maximized usage?   What changes is the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation making to ensure the timely review of State plans and delivery of awards?  Regarding the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation:   How many employees does the office have? What is the administrative budget for the office for each year since it has been in existence? Considering the Biden administration’s waiver of Buy America requirements for steel, iron, manufactured products, and construction materials in EV chargers, how will you ensure federal funds are not supporting Chinese or Chinese-affiliated entities?  IN THE NEWS:   “Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee are demanding answers from two federal agencies regarding the Biden administration’s lagging electric vehicle (EV) charger subsidy program.”   […] “Beyond noting that the rollout has been sluggish to date, the lawmakers asked the agencies to provide estimates of how many chargers the administration is anticipating the program will help build by the end of the year and steps the agencies are taking to ensure that taxpayer dollars do not benefit Chinese interests in light of the administration’s ‘Buy America’ requirement waiver for certain charger components.”   CLICK HERE to read the full article from the Daily Caller.  CLICK HERE to read the full letter.

Feb 21, 2024

Chairs Rodgers and Duncan Probe FERC on Grid Reliability Implications of Breaching the Lower Snake River Dams

Washington, D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Energy, Climate, and Grid Security Subcommittee Chair Jeff Duncan (R-SC) sent a letter to Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chair Willie L. Phillips and the other Commissioners regarding the threats to the reliability of the electric grid if the Lower Snake River dams were breached and whether FERC was involved in President Biden’s efforts to breach the Lower Snake River dams.  KEY QUOTE:   "We are concerned that the Biden administration failed to consider the impact of dam breaches on electric reliability when conducting its secret negotiations. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should have been involved in these discussions in order to ensure misguided policies do not further undermine grid reliability. The Lower Snake River dams provide over 3,000 MW of affordable nameplate capacity that communities in the western United States depend on for reliability and resource adequacy.   "As noted in responses to our letter dated December 29, 2023, Chairman Phillips stated that 'we cannot, as a country, afford to retire resources on which we depend for reliability without ensuring that they are replaced with sufficient resources to meet resource adequacy and other system needs.' This includes the affordable, dispatchable, and renewable hydroelectric dams in the Columbia River Basin that millions of Americans depend on for reliability. In fact, during the most recent cold snap in the Pacific Northwest, federal dams, including the Lower Snake River dams, 'were vital to keeping the lights on' by producing over 1,000 MW of electricity each day to help BPA and the region meet high demands. BACKGROUND:   Dams along the Columbia Snake River system provide more than one third of all the hydropower capacity in the United States. In Washinton State, hydropower accounts for 70 percent of the electricity consumed.  The dams helped transform Eastern Washington into one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world—over $3 billion worth of cargo is shipped on the Columbia Snake River System every year, including 40 percent of America’s wheat.  Despite the importance of the dams, the Biden administration has been leading secret negotiations with other federal agencies in an attempt to breach the Lower Snake River dams. In the process, they’ve ignored the concerns of people who live in the Pacific Northwest and who would be significantly impacted if these dams were breached.  Members asked Chair Phillips to answer the following questions by March 6, 2024: Was FERC consulted as part of the Columbia River Basin negotiations to examine or explain the impacts on electric reliability relating to the commitments contained in the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)? Was FERC included in these negotiations in any capacity to assess the impacts to affordability, reliability, and resource adequacy in the western United States? Please describe any communications you have had with BPA, CEQ, the White House, or any other federal entity during the Columbia River Basin negotiation process.  Will FERC coordinate with other Federal entities, like BPA and the administration, to examine the reliability impacts of the potential loss of dispatchable, clean, renewable hydroelectric power in the west as the MOU is implemented?  How does FERC consider the negative impacts of policies that displace reliable generation when fulfilling its mission to safeguard reliability? How is FERC assessing the cumulative effects of state policies that impact wholesale system spanning multiple states and entire interconnections?  On January 30, 2024, Mr. Jeremiah Baumann from the Department of Energy (DOE) testified before the Subcommittee on Energy, Climate, and Grid Security hearing. During the hearing, Mr. Baumann was asked about replacing the electric generation that would be lost if the four Lower Snake River dams were breached. Mr. Baumann said “[Y]ou can use sort of existing off-the-shelf emissions-free technology like wind, solar, and current batteries for a big chunk, but then for the last bit, you really do need other technologies like hydrogen, something that is going to be that 24./7 dispatchable piece, and right now those are very expensive and hard to develop.” Do you agree with DOE’s assessment of the need for dispatchable replacement capacity if the Lower Snake River dams are breached? What cost-effective and commercially available technology would be the most efficient dispatchable replacement for the Lower Snake River dams?  The Columbia River Basin MOU describes several replacement energy resources for the hydroelectricity from the dams, including distributed energy resources, efficiency measures, demand response, and other generation, storage, and transmission resources. Do you consider those adequate replacements for the over 3,000 MW of dispatchable nameplate capacity from the Lower Snake River dams? What quantity, in MW, of distributed energy resources, efficiency measures, demand response, and other generation is needed to replace the capacity, energy, and essential reliability services provided by the dams? Can these replacement resources provide comparable quality and quantity of these services? What effect will this have on energy prices and capacity contracts for consumers in the region? Would you consider the total costs for replacement resources just and reasonable when they are higher than they otherwise would be with these dispatchable resources still in service? How will the loss of the dams and the characteristics of the proposed replacement resources affect system capabilities needs, especially during peak periods? CLICK HERE to read the full letter.