KIFA Statement on KCC Nominee

For his first appointment to the Kansas Corporation Commission (KCC) - Kansas' public utilities regulator - Gov. Colyer has nominated Dwight Keen, who owns a small oil and gas company and is the former chairman of the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association (KIOGA). We have two major concerns about this appointment: first, that it is "regulatory capture", where the regulated industry controls the regulator. Mr. Keen has promised to divest himself of his holdings and recuse himself from decisions concerning his company, but there's no way a KCC commissioner could recuse himself from everything having to do with the oil and gas industry - nor is he offering to do so. He's too invested (literally and figuratively) in oil and gas to do what he needs to do fairly and effectively. 

Our second major concern is in the area of climate change. I haven't found any record of statements by Mr. Keen on this specific topic, but it's worth noting that the current president of KIOGA, Ed Cross, is a climate change denier. But Mr. Keen calls himself an "all of the above energy guy," which isn't the way we're going to be able to address the increasing consequences of global climate change - largely caused by the very industry where Mr. Keen has made his living, and which he will now be "regulating."

The KCC has been very reluctant, to the point of obstruction, to use its regulatory authority to encourage development of strategies that would mitigate climate change. In particular, they've allowed utilities to put unfair costs on distributed solar generation, and have done literally nothing about energy efficiency in the state. How putting an oil-and-gas man on the commission will address any of these concerns is beyond us. Therefore, we oppose this nomination. 

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