On November 17, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) aimed at allowing energy storage resources and all categories of aggregated distributed energy resources (DERs) to more fully participate in organized electricity markets.[1]  As storage and DERs have become increasingly common, independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) have developed individual methods of integrating these resources.   While leaving significant elements for each market to determine, the NOPR would move towards a standard – and more expansive – role for these resources in markets. Background Storage and DERs have received significant attention from FERC in the past... READ MORE
On November 18, 2016, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced that it has finalized a rule intended to reduce the waste of natural gas that results from onshore flaring, venting, and leaks by oil and gas production on federal and tribal lands.  BLM has said that the Final Rule—which is entitled “Waste Prevention, Production Subject to Royalties, and Resource Conservation”—will modernize existing regulations to reflect advancements in oil and gas production in an attempt to reduce natural gas waste, curtail air pollution, and provide a beneficial return on public resources for states, tribes, and federal taxpayers.  The Final Rule is expected to be published in the Federal Register in the near term, and is scheduled to take effect January 17... READ MORE
On November 17, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in Docket No. RM17-4-000 seeking comments on whether or not its existing policy governing the length of original and new hydropower licenses should be modified.  The length of original licenses is governed by section 6 of the Federal Power Act which only states that the term of any such license should not exceed 50 years.  With regard to relicenses, section 15 of the Act provides that the license shall be for a term that the Commission determines to be in the public interest, but not less than 30 years or more than 50 years.  Particularly for relicenses, this inquiry represents the first major evaluation of the matter since the 1990s when the Commission... READ MORE
T.C. Richmond is presenting “What Next for Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) Final Guidance on Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change Impacts” at LSI’s intensive SEPA/NEPA seminar, January 13, 2017 in Seattle.  Special topics will include the federal FAST Act designed to expedite the NEPA process for major infrastructure projects; the Council on Environmental Quality's Final Guidance on Greenhouse Gases and Climate Change Impacts; unresolved issues in SEPA administrative and judicial appeals, exemplified by a recent SEPA challenge of Okanogan County's All-Terrain Vehicle Ordinance; and the impact of SEPA on the development of affordable housing. READ MORE
Michael Pincus and Bryn Karaus will both be featured speakers at EBA's upcoming Primer: An Introduction to Federal Regulation of the Natural Gas Industry.  The goal of the primer  is to provide an overview of the federal regulation of the natural gas industry by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Mike will lead a session on constructing and abandoning pipelines under the Natural Gas Act and Bryn will be speaking on pipeline safety regulation. For more information and to register, please visit EBA's website. READ MORE
The CSIS Energy and National Security Program is pleased to host an expert discussion about some of the regulatory, legislative, international and subnational efforts that may be pursued to reduce future emissions. Van Ness Feldman's Kyle Danish will discuss the regulatory options; Adele Morris from the Brookings Institution will discuss the notion of a carbon tax or other market based mechanisms; and Bob Perciasepe from C2ES will focus on the feasibility of these approaches as well as how important local, state, and international actions are to achieving these emissions reduction goals. Each speaker will address the feasibility and merits of these approaches as well as the challenges they are likely to face. Click here for more information and... READ MORE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that one new Principal and five new Partners have been elected to the membership of the firm, effective immediately.  “We are proud of this newly promoted group of members,” Richard Agnew, Chairman of Van Ness Feldman said, “Each one of them is talented, energetic, and represent what is best about our firm—a deep knowledge of subject matter and a commitment to serving clients and our community.”   The new principal and partners are based in both our Washington, DC and Seattle offices. Biographical information is below. Andrea Hudson Campbell  advises automobile manufacturers, engine and equipment manufacturers, electric utilities, trade associations, and coalitions on a variety of... READ MORE
The CSIS Energy and National Security Program hosted an expert discussion today to discuss  some of the regulatory, legislative, international and subnational efforts that may be pursued to reduce future emissions. Van Ness Feldman's  Kyle Danish spoke on regulatory options; Adele Morris from the Brookings Institution discussed the notion of a carbon tax or other market based mechanisms; and Bob Perciasepe from C2ES focused on the feasibility of these approaches as well as how important local, state, and international actions are to achieving these emissions reduction goals.  Also, in conjunction with the program, a white paper entitled, Scenarios for New Greenhouse Gas Policies in the Next Ten Years, written by Kyle Danish, Bob Nordhaus and Avi... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce the firm’s Energy, Environmental, Litigation – Environmental, and Natural Resources practices have been ranked as National Tier 1 practices by US News & World Report in its just released 2017 rankings. The firm also received a National Tier 1 ranking for Native American Law for the first time.  In addition, the firm received nationwide recognition in the areas of Land-Use & Zoning Law, and Oil & Gas Law and an inaugural Tier 1 ranking for its Native American Law practice in the Washington, DC market. Other inaugural rankings include a Tier 2 ranking for the firm’s Water Law practice in the Seattle market, and a Tier 3 ranking for the firm’s Transportation Law practice in the DC market.  Firm Chairman... READ MORE
Federal Agencies Issue Final Rules for Trial-Type Hearings On November 23, 2016, the Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, and Commerce issued final rules for expedited trial-type hearings and submission of alternative conditions under the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  The trial-type hearings are conducted to resolve disputed issues of material fact with respect to mandatory conditions and prescriptions submitted by federal resource agencies for inclusion in a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) hydropower license.  The final rules make no changes from the revised interim final rules, which took effect on April 30, 2015.  The hydroelectric industry submitted extensive comments in response to the revised interim final rules... READ MORE
FERC FERC Accepts Revised Communications Standard - October 28 - FERC issued a letter order accepting Reliability Standard COM-001-3 (Communications), which revises Reliability Standard COM-001-2.1 by adding new requirements addressing  the adequacy of internal communications capability when internal communications could affect the operation of the Bulk-Power System.  The letter order also approved the associated implementation plan, and the retirement of Reliability Standard COM-001-2.1. FERC Accepts NERC Revisions to Rules of Procedure - November 4 - On August 15th, NERC submitted proposed revisions to Appendixes 2, 5A and 5B of the NERC Rules of Procedure. The revisions incorporate the terms "Frequency Response Sharing Group" and "Regulation... READ MORE
PHMSA Proposes User Fee Structure for Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities On November 7, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) published a notice advising operators of underground natural gas storage facilities of a proposed user fee assessment and rate structure that PHMSA would adopt to recover the costs of inspecting and regulating interstate and intrastate natural gas storage facilities by PHMSA and state regulators.  PHMSA is requesting public comments on the proposed user fee structure by January 6, 2017. Section 12 of the Protecting Our Infrastructure of Pipelines and Enhancing Safety (PIPES) Act of 2016 requires that PHMSA issue federal safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities. ... READ MORE