On January 22, 2016, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell unveiled a proposed rule to reduce the waste of natural gas that results from venting, flaring and leaks by oil and gas production on public and tribal lands.  The “Methane and Waste Reduction Rule”—which was published in the Federal Register on February 8, 2016, setting off a 60-day comment period—would update existing provisions of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM’s) onshore oil and gas leasing and operations regulations and introduce new requirements aimed at curbing waste and minimizing royalty-free use of production. The Methane and Waste Reduction Rule, if finalized, will affect different segments of the oil and gas industry differently.  This alert provides a summary of key... READ MORE
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reaffirmed its policy permitting oil pipelines to set contractual committed rates through an open season process in Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC (Seaway II).  In a February 1 Order on Initial Decision on Remand, FERC reversed significant portions of an Administrative Law Judge’s (ALJ) initial decision on remand (Remand ID) that had rejected FERC’s open season policy. Seaway II marks the second time that FERC reversed one of its ALJ’s  decisions and confirmed that committed shipper contracts cannot be abrogated, and that their rates cannot be challenged and changed, in a rate case proceeding to set initial uncommitted shipper rates. Seaway II is notable for its sharply worded rebuke of the ALJ’s... READ MORE
On January 25, 2016, in a 6-2 decision, the Supreme Court reversed a decision of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) and in so doing unconditionally upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Order No. 745, a rule requiring that cost-effective demand response resources participating in organized energy markets be paid the full locational marginal price (LMP).  FERC v. Electric Power Supply Assn., 577 U.S.(2016).   FERC Order No. 745: Compensating Demand Response in Wholesale Energy Markets Order No. 745, issued in March 2011, established a framework for compensating demand response bid into the organized energy markets operated by independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission... READ MORE
CSIS will host an expert panel on January 27th, featuring Kyle Danish, leader of the firm's Climate Change practice.   The panel will provide an overview of the state, federal and court level activity and planning that is likely to take place throughout the upcoming year with regard to EPA's Clean Power Plan.  Kyle will be focusing on the legal challenges to the Clean Power Plan and the likely time-frame and pathways for resolving those challenges. For more information and to register, please visit CSIS's website.  READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is a proud to participate and sponsor The Arctic Encounter Symposium (AES), the largest annual Arctic policy event in the United States, which convenes policymakers, industry leaders, and leading experts to confront the leading issues in Arctic policy, innovation, and development. Partner Tadas Kisielius will present “The Reality of Arctic Port Development: Challenges and Opportunities,” with Associate Andrew Vanderjack serving as moderator to a distinguished panel of co-presenters. Along with U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA), VNF is honored to participate in discussions to realize the Arctic's full potential and collaborate on solutions.   AES 2016 will be held at the University of Washington, January... READ MORE
Greg Junge, Partner in Van Ness Feldman’s Pipeline & LNG practice, has been named a Client Service All-Star for 2016 by BTI Consulting Group (Wellesley, MA) for the second year in a row.   The BTI Client Service All-Star Survey is based solely on unprompted feedback from clients at large businesses and Fortune 1000 companies.   The 312 individual attorneys recognized in the BTI Client Service All-Stars 2016 are the end result of over 320 in-depth, independent interviews with legal decision makers at the world’s leading organizations.  Greg was one of only 61 attorneys making a repeat appearance as a Client All-Star, earning him additional recognition as a Client Service All-Star MVP. “We are pleased that Greg has been recognized by general... READ MORE
The Seattle office of Van Ness Feldman LLP is seeking a real estate partner to join its dynamic real estate team.  For more than 35 years, our real estate group* has been involved in some of the region’s most significant real property transactions, including acquisition, development, finance, commercial leasing, management of large due diligence evaluations, structuring of multi-property acquisitions, regulatory analysis, compliance, and mitigation.  A portable practice and a historical track record of strong client relationships is desirable.  Confidential inquiries can be sent to Saira Rhodes at slr@vnf.com (*formerly Buck & Gordon and GordonDerr LLP) READ MORE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that Margaret Claybour and Justin Moeller  have been elected to the partnership effective immediately.  Ms. Claybour and Mr. Moeller further strengthen the firm’s extensive energy regulatory capabilities.       Margaret Claybour’s practice focuses on representing electric utilities, merchant and renewable generators, and independent transmission companies before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), and advising clients on transactional and federal regulatory matters involving the energy industry.  Ms. Claybour assists clients in developing regulatory strategy and structuring transactions, and advises them in ratemaking proceedings and settlement procedures.  She also helps... READ MORE
FERC NERC, Trade Associations Exchange Comments on CIP v5 Implementation – On February 4, 2016, a group of trade associations filed a motion seeking an extension of time for Critical Infrastructure Version 5 (CIP v5) reliability standards, requesting that FERC shift the implementation date from April 1, 2016 to July 1, 2016.  The motion contends that implementing multiple versions of standards in a short period would impose burdens and reduce certainty.  The filing parties were the Edison Electric Institute, the American Public Power Association, the Electricity Consumers Resource Council, the Electric Power Supply Association, the Large Public Power Council, the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, and the Transmission Access Policy... READ MORE
PHMSA Issues Advisory Bulletin on Underground Natural Gas Storage On February 5, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued an advisory bulletin reminding operators of underground natural gas storage facilities of the actions they should take to ensure the integrity of those facilities.  The advisory recommends that operators review operating, maintenance, and emergency response procedures and activities.  In addition, the advisory specifies a number of actions that operators should take both to prevent and mitigate breaches of integrity, leaks, and failures, and to provide for the safety of the public and personnel and environmental protection.  Finally, the advisory directs compliance with state regulations... READ MORE
Legislative Update On January 27, 2016, the Senate began floor debate on S. 2012, the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2015, the bipartisan energy bill reported out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on July 30, 2015.  As described in the August 2015 Hydro Newsletter, the bill as reported out of committee still retains a number of hydro provisions.  These include: (1) designating the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as lead agency for coordinating federal authorizations from all agencies needed to develop a hydroelectric project; (2) authorizing FERC to refer agency disputes to the Council on Environmental Quality; (3) requiring resource agencies to give equal consideration to developmental and non-developmental... READ MORE