Introduction On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) released a pre-publication version of its “Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits” (the “Proposal”).  The Proposal presents a draft version of the Corps’ latest renewal of its program for “Nationwide Permits” (NWPs) that authorize general categories of construction in waters of the United States.  This begins the process for renewing and revising the 2012 NWPs that are set to expire on March 18, 2017.  The Corps has proposed changes to several existing NWPs, as well as the issuance of two new NWPs and modification to some of the General Condition and Definitions.  The Corps’ proposed modifications to existing NWPs, which are tabulated in the Corps’ summary table... READ MORE
On April 14, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released its Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Oregon (Oregon BiOp).  Similar to the 2008 Biological Opinion issued by NMFS regarding the NFIP in the Puget Sound region (the Puget Sound BiOp), the Oregon BiOp concludes that the Oregon NFIP allows and encourages floodplain development that jeopardizes the continued existence of 16 ESA-listed anadromous fish species and Southern Resident killer whales, and results in the destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat for the fish species.  In contrast to the Puget Sound BiOp... READ MORE
On May 12, 2016, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a package of regulatory actions aimed at limiting emissions of methane and other pollutants from sources in the oil and gas sector.  The actions—three final rules and a draft information collection request (ICR)—are the latest taken under a comprehensive methane strategy for the sector released by the White House in 2015.  The White House’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from the sector by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.   As explained below, the May 12 package mostly targets new and modified sources in the oil and gas sector.  However, the draft ICR represents an initial step toward issuing rules for existing sources in the sector, consistent with a March 2016 joint... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Malcolm McLellan will be providing a national update on North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards and enforcement trends in a section entitled, "The RPS and Reliability." Click here for more information. READ MORE
Join Justin Moeller, partner in Van Ness Feldman's electric practice, for an educational talk about the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) at the 20th annual Mid-C Seminar.  This year's theme for the Mid-C Seminar will be "The New World" covering the changing landscape on regulatory issues, RECs, physical trading, and will explore the operational challenges of the changing resource mix and behind the meter generation and potential solutions including smart grid. For more information and to register, please visit the Mid-C Seminar website.   READ MORE
Washington, DC – The Northwest Public Power Association (NWPPA) has named Former Congressman Norm Dicks (D-WA) as the inaugural recipient of NWPPA’s “Homer T. Bone Award” for 2016.  The award, named after Senator Homer T. Bone, in honor of his work on behalf of public power, is presented to a state or federal legislator serving and representing constituents in the NWPPA service territory who has demonstrated sustained and remarkable work on behalf of the industry. For over four decades, Mr. Dicks has worked tirelessly on issues affecting public power in the Pacific Northwest both as a staffer to former U.S. Senator Warren Magnuson (D-WA) and as a Congressman representing Washington’s 6th Congressional District fighting for the interests of the... READ MORE
Current Van Ness Feldman Senior Policy Advisor and former Senator Mary Landrieu, recently sat down with Politico to discuss life after the Senate.  Below is the full text of the interview.   PoliticoPro Q&A: Mary Landrieu By Elana Schor  Over the course of three terms in the Senate, Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu became synonymous with the type of "all of the above" energy policymaking that draws barbs from fossil-fuel companies and environmentalists in almost equal measure. She rose to the chairmanship of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee during a hard-fought reelection run in 2014, but ultimately lost her seat to Bill Cassidy (R-La.). POLITICO's Elana Schor spoke to Landrieu, 60, at her post-Congress home base in Washington, the... READ MORE
On March 25th, the Department of Energy announced that it will participate in Clean Line Energy’s Plains and Eastern Transmission Project, a public/private project that will deliver 4,000+ MW of wind energy from the Oklahoma Panhandle into load centers in Arkansas, Tennessee, and beyond.  In addition to the delivery of 4,000 MW of wind energy to meet the increasing demand for renewable energy supplies, the project will be the first multi-state, high voltage direct current transmission project connecting large scale renewable resources in the mid and southwest to eastern and southeastern load centers. The $2.5 billion project—100% funded by private investment—will support thousands of jobs in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Van Ness Feldman... READ MORE
FEATURED NEWS Army Corps Proposes Renewal of Nationwide Permits for Work in Waters of the U.S. FEATURED ARTICLE Oregon Communities and Developers Face Significantly Heightened Standards Following ESA Consultation on National Flood Insurance Program Molly Lawrence and Jenna Mandell-Rice On April 14, 2016, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) released its Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(2) Biological Opinion regarding the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) implementation of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in Oregon (Oregon BiOp). Similar to the 2008 Biological Opinion issued by NMFS regarding the NFIP in the Puget Sound region (the Puget Sound BiOp), the Oregon BiOp concludes that the Oregon NFIP... READ MORE
FERC NOPR to Approve Disturbance Control Standard - May 19 - FERC proposes to approve Reliability Standard BAL-002-2 (Disturbance Control Standard—Contingency Reserve for Recovery from a Balancing Contingency Event). Proposed Reliability Standard BAL-002-2 is designed to ensure that applicable entities balance resources and demand and return their Area Control Error to defined values following a Reportable Balancing Contingency Event. In addition, the NOPR proposes to require NERC to modify Reliability Standard BAL-002-2 to address concerns related to the possible extension or delay of the periods for Area Control Error recovery and contingency reserve restoration. The NOPR also proposes to direct NERC to address a reliability gap regarding... READ MORE
House Energy and Commerce Committee Reports Pipeline Safety Reauthorization Bill. On April 27, the House Energy and Commerce Committee reported H.R. 5050, the Pipeline Safety Act of 2016, reauthorizing appropriations for the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration's (PHMSA) pipeline safety programs through FY 2021. Similar to H.R. 4937, reported by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on April 20, this bill would authorize PHMSA to issue industry-wide emergency orders to address “imminent hazards,” require that PHMSA establish minimum safety standards for underground natural gas storage facilities, and provide periodic status updates to Congress on outstanding statutory mandates.  The bill would not require that... READ MORE