On October 2, 2017, FERC issued notice of the September 29, 2017 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) from the United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) under section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act.  In the NOPR, DOE urges FERC to act quickly to enact rules requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (“RTOs/ISOs”) to provide just and reasonable rates for “fuel-secure” generation units (see October 2, 2017 edition of the WER).  Shortly thereafter, on October 4, FERC staff issued a Request for Information, listing various questions for commenters to address in aiding the Commission to better understand the NOPR’s implications.  Commenting parties have until October 23, 2017 to file initial comments and until November 7, 2017 to file reply comments.  In recent testimony before the Senate’s Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, FERC General Counsel, James Danly, confirmed that FERC intends to review the comments and take final action within 60 days of the NOPR’s publication, as requested by the DOE. Continue Reading FERC Sets Comment Deadline and Poses Questions for Commenters on DOE Proposed Rule

On September 29, 2017, United States Department of Energy (“DOE”) Secretary Rick Perry took the unusual step of proposing a rule for final action by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”).  Secretary Perry’s initiative, a DOE-issued Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) under section 403 of the Department of Energy Organization Act (“DOE Act”) (42 U.S.C. § 7173), urges FERC to act extremely quickly to enact rules requiring regional transmission organizations and independent system operators (“RTOs/ISOs”) to provide just and reasonable rates for “fuel-secure” generation units (e.g., coal and nuclear units).  See Grid Resiliency Pricing Rule, Docket No. RM17-3-000, at 4–5 (Sept. 29, 2017) (“DOE NOPR”).  Continue Reading Department of Energy Proposes FERC-Authorized Full Cost Recovery for Certain Nuclear and Coal Power Generation

On September 20, 2017, FERC issued two final rules and a notice of proposed rulemaking (“NOPR”) on reliability standards for the bulk power system. The final rules—Order Nos. 836 and 837—will become effective sixty days after their publication in the Federal Register.  Parties interested in filing comments on matters discussed in the NOPR must do so within sixty days of when that notice is published in the Federal Register. Continue Reading FERC Issues Final Rules and NOPR to Enhance Bulk Electric System Resilience, Reliability

On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that, among other things, (1) directed the Council on Environmental Quality (“CEQ”) to rescind its guidance for federal departments and agencies on the consideration of greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions in National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) reviews; (2) withdrew documents implementing the Social Cost of Carbon tool for regulatory impact analysis; and (3) directed the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) to review and determine whether to withdraw or revise the Clean Power Plan, which several agencies were in the process of implementing (see January 29, 2016 edition of the WER). Continue Reading Trump Executive Order to Rescind CEQ GHG Guidance, Withdraw Social Cost of Carbon Analysis, and Review Clean Power Plan

On March 24, 2017, the United States Department of State (“State Department”) issued a presidential permit to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (“TransCanada”) authorizing TransCanada to import crude oil from Canada to the United States as part of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project. The presidential permit was issued under the authority of Executive Order 13337 and the January 24, 2017 Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline (see January 30, 2017 edition of the WER).

After TransCanada first submitted its presidential permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline on January 31, 2014, it resubmitted its application on January 26, 2017 after Executive Order 13337 was issued. TransCanada’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Russ Girling, issued a statement calling the issuance of the presidential permit a “significant milestone for the Keystone XL project.”

The presidential permit is available here.

On March 24, 2017, the United States Department of State (“State Department”) issued a presidential permit to TransCanada Keystone Pipeline, L.P. (“TransCanada”) authorizing TransCanada to import crude oil from Canada to the United States as part of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline project. The presidential permit was issued under the authority of Executive Order 13337 and the January 24, 2017 Presidential Memorandum Regarding Construction of the Keystone XL pipeline (see January 30, 2017 edition of the WER). Continue Reading State Department Issues Presidential Permit for Keystone XL Pipeline

On March 21, 2017, the Wyoming Pipeline Authority (“WPA”) withdrew its request for rehearing of the delegation order that FERC issued on February 3, 2017 (“Delegation Order”) in anticipation of the Commission’s loss of quorum following the departure of former Chairman Norman Bay.  The Delegation Order allows FERC staff to take action on certain matters until no later than fourteen days after a quorum is restored (see February 21, 2017 edition of the WER).  WPA filed its rehearing request on March 6, 2017 and argued that the Delegation Order impermissibly grants powers to FERC staff that are greater than those conferred to the Commission itself by Congress (see March 13, 2017 edition of the WER).

WPA’s March 21 filing, which can be found here, provides no explanation for the withdrawal.  It was the only formal contest to the Delegation Order.

According to various reports, President Donald Trump plans to appoint Kevin McIntyre as FERC Chairman, and Neil Chatterjee and Rob Powelson as FERC Commissioners, to fill the three vacant Commissioner seats at FERC. All three potential appointees are Republicans, whereas the current Commissioners—Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur and Commissioner Collette Honorable—are Democrats. Continue Reading Reports Suggest President Trump Plans to Appoint McIntyre as FERC Chairman, Chatterjee and Powelson as FERC Commissioners

On March 6, 2017 the Wyoming Pipeline Authority (“WPA”) requested rehearing of FERC’s February 3, 2017 Delegation Order (“Delegation Order”).  In the filing, the WPA asserted that the Delegation Order exceeds FERC’s statutory authority because it purports to authorize agency staff members to take action that would not be possible for FERC itself to take due to the current lack of quorum.  This deficiency, WPA argued, can only be cured through the appointment of new Commissioners. Continue Reading Wyoming Pipeline Authority Challenges Legality of FERC Delegation Order

On March 2, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted 62-37 to confirm Rick Perry as the Secretary of the Department of Energy (“DOE”). Secretary Perry will succeed Dr. Ernest Moniz. Prior to his confirmation as Secretary of the DOE, Secretary Perry was Governor of Texas from December 2000 to January 2015, qualifying as the longest-serving governor in Texas history.

After being sworn in, Secretary Perry stated, “It is an honor and privilege to serve as the Secretary of the [DOE]. As Secretary, I will advocate and promote American energy in all forms.”

A record of the vote on Secretary Perry’s confirmation is available here. The DOE’s press release on the swearing in of Secretary Perry is available here.