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Energy, most read: EPA hearing gets 'out of hand'; departing directors blast Williams CEO

SNL Energy presents the mostread stories for the week ended July 8.


Acongressional hearing on U.S. EPA regulations went sour after a subcommitteemember called the agency's regulatory actions "un-American" andanother questioned an EPA official's credentials.


Havinglost the battle to replace WilliamsCos. Inc. CEO Alan Armstrong, departing directors Eric Mandelblattand Keith Meister used their resignation letters to make sure everyone knew howthey felt. "It has unfortunately become evident that the CEO of thecompany, Alan Armstrong, is incapable of maximizing shareholder value and,instead, is primarily focused on maintaining his role as CEO,"Mandelblatt, managing partner at Soroban Capital Partners LP, wrote in a testyletter.


Somecall it a strategic review, others call it a way to monetize assets. Call itwhat you want, the marketplace for merchant power plants tied to proposeddivestitures has given private equity firms an opportunity to seize merchantassets at a time when public markets are shying away from the sector.Over the past several months, companies including ,Dynegy Inc. andTransCanada Corp.have made clear their intention to sell off segments of their merchantportfolios, either to limit competitive market exposure or raise cash tofinance a separate acquisition, or both.


Thesame FERC administrative law judge who just six months ago said the base returnon equity for transmission-owning members of the should be lowered from 12.38% to 10.32% has now recommended that it be droppedeven further, to 9.7%.


announcedthat it issued potential layoff notices to 4,400 individuals in six states inanticipation of mass workforce reductions in September.