Carol Browner, Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change, Talks Caps, Solar and Drilling With ABC News

Goals for Energy Transmission

Q: One of the biggest challenges in getting clean energy online is access to transmission. Is this something you are going to deal with in the energy bill?

A: On transmission, we do have the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which does have the authority, which was granted new authority over the last several years to help site lines. I suspect there may be some additional legislation on that issue. Also as part of the recovery act, we're making investments in new transmission. The way we've thought about it is the grid's got to be bigger, better, smarter. Bigger means we need the right kinds of lines to carry the renewable energies, better means that we have the right kind of leakage that it's up to date, and then smarter means taking advantage of technologies that actually allow everything from the average homeowner to manage their electricity, to know how much they're using at any time of day to know why this light bulb is less efficient in their house.

Q: Should the EPA have the authority to regulate greenhouse gasses?

A: Under a Supreme Court decision, Massachusetts vs. EPA, EPA does have authority to regulate greenhouse gasses and, in fact once they determine that greenhouse gasses endanger public health and welfare, which they did, under that case they had to regulate greenhouse gasses from automobiles, which they also did on Thursday. In addition to setting the toughest fuel-efficiency standards ever, they also set DOT and EPA together. DOT did the efficiency, EPA did the first greenhouse gas emissions standards. But the president has long said that's an important authority, but we think that comprehensive legislation can look at all of our energy issues, and not just the climate change issue, which is obviously a very, very important issue. And in the meantime, the EPA has a legal responsibility to use their authority, and I think [EPA administrator] Lisa Jackson should be commended for using it in a responsible and thoughtful way.

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