The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has taken the first step towards modifying royalty rates and other payments, fees, assessments, and bonding requirements associated with oil and gas activity on public lands for the first time in nearly 30 years. On April 21, 2015, BLM published in the Federal Register an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) announcing that it is exploring potential changes to its regulations governing onshore oil and gas royalties, payments, fees, assessments, and bonding requirements, and seeking public input and recommendations on the form that the revisions should take. See “Oil and Gas Leasing; Royalty on Production, Rental Payments, Minimum Acceptable Bids, Bonding Requirements, and Civil Penalty Assessments,”... READ MORE
The Liquids Shippers Group, Airlines for America, and the National Propane Gas Association (“Joint Petitioners”) filed a petition for rulemaking (“Petition”) on April 20, 2015, requesting that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to revise Page 700 of FERC’s Form No. 6, the Annual Report of Oil Pipeline Companies, to further enhance pipeline financial reporting transparency.  The Joint Petitioners contend that the financial reporting requirements applicable to crude oil and petroleum product pipelines should be revised because of recent changes in market dynamics and recent changes in pipeline ownership.  Specifically, they request that the Commission require pipelines that... READ MORE
On April 16, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) adopted a policy statement on Cost Recovery Mechanisms for Modernization of Natural Gas Facilities (Policy Statement).  The Policy Statement is based on the Proposed Policy Statement issued in November 2014, modified slightly to account for over fifty commenting parties.  It allows interstate natural gas pipelines to establish a surcharge or tracker mechanism to recover certain safety, environmental, or reliability capital expenditures made to modernize pipeline system infrastructure outside of a Natural Gas Act (NGA) Section 4 rate case provided that five guiding principles are met: (1) Review of Existing Rates; (2) Eligible Costs; (3) Avoidance of Cost Shifting; (4) Periodic Review... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Jay Derr will be speaking in a panel entitled, "Transportation of Oil By Rail:  The Challenge of Developing Public Policy to Address Random Events with Potentially Catastrophic Consequences."  Mr. Derr will be providing a "developer perspective on the potential impact of revised federal, state, and local oil train regulations on proposed export projects for the Pacific Northwest."   READ MORE
Led by Paul Korman, Amy Beizer, and Emily Pitlick, Van Ness Feldman successfully represented MoGas Pipeline LLC (MoGas) as an intervenor in Missouri Public Service Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).   The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that FERC properly applied its “benefits exception” test precedent when it permitted MoGas to include an acquisition premium in its initial rate base.  An acquisition premium is the amount greater than a regulated facility’s net book value that is paid to acquire it.  Generally, the recovery of an acquisition premium in pipeline rates is not allowed unless the pipeline meets FERC’s two-part “benefits exception” test.  The test permits recovery of an... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that Mona Tandon has rejoined the Firm as a partner. Ms. Tandon advises clients that own and operate crude oil and products pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric utilities on federal and state regulatory matters, transactional issues, general corporate matters, and legislative issues. She also represents clients in federal and state administrative litigation, and counsels energy companies on compliance with federal and state requirements, including corporate governance, infrastructure security, and risk management. She also assists clients with issues regarding project development and acquisitions.  Ms. Tandon is an active participant in the firm’s pro bono practice and a member of the diversity... READ MORE
Almost a decade ago, Van Ness Feldman’s Alan Mintz started drafting a piece of legislation intended to resolve and finalize the indigenous land claims of Sealaska Corporation.  Today, at around 5 p.m., the U.S. Senate passed that legislation as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, on a vote of 89-11.  It now goes to the President for his signature.  The firm serves as Washington, DC counsel to Sealaska, the regional Native Corporation for southeastern Alaska (which includes 20,000 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribal member shareholders), representing the company on government relations matters before Congress and federal agencies.  The legislation authorizes Sealaska to select 70,000 acres of land in the Tongass National Forest in... READ MORE