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 15, 2017, the Board of Governors of the California Independent System Operator Corporation (“CAISO”) approved the 2016-2017 Transmission Plan, which is an annual, comprehensive assessment of transmission needs of the CAISO system over a 10-year planning horizon. According to the accompanying memorandum from CAISO Management, the Transmission Plan “provides a comprehensive evaluation of the ISO’s transmission grid to identify upgrades needed to successfully meet California’s policy goals, in addition to examining conventional grid reliability requirements and transmission projects that can bring economic benefits to consumers.” Continue Reading CAISO Board Approves Annual Transmission Plan
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.
On March 22, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (“District Court”) dismissed a complaint by the Delaware Riverkeeper Network (“DRN”) alleging that its members had been deprived of constitutional due process because FERC is unable to make unbiased determinations on the issuance of natural gas pipeline certificates of public convenience and necessity (“CPCNs”). Specifically, DRN argued that because FERC’s funding mechanism requires FERC to recover its budget through a charge to regulated natural gas companies, it has a pro-industry bias. Continue Reading Federal District Court Dismisses Suit Accusing FERC of Pro-Industry Bias
In an order issued on March 7, 2017, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California (“District Court”) rejected arguments from FERC regarding the scope of review and applicable procedural rules governing the District Court’s review of a market manipulation enforcement proceeding. The District Court held that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure (“FRCP”) applied to the action and rejected arguments that it was limited to “de novo” review of the administrative record as compiled by FERC. As a result, the District Court ordered FERC to provide discovery to the opposing parties. Continue Reading California District Court Orders Discovery in FERC Enforcement Case
On March 10, 2017, FERC Secretary Kimberly D. Bose (“Secretary Bose”) issued a notice that East Kentucky Power Cooperative, Inc.’s (“EKPC”) application to terminate its requirement pursuant to the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act of 1978 (“PURPA”) to purchase electricity from qualifying facilities was deemed denied without prejudice due to FERC’s lack of quorum (see February 21, 2017 edition of the WER). Continue Reading EKPC’s Application Requesting FERC Terminate PURPA PPA Requirement Deemed Denied Due to Lack of Quorum
On March 9, 2017, FERC issued notice that FERC staff will convene a technical conference on June 26, 27, and 28, 2017 to explore opportunities for increasing market and planning efficiency through improved software. FERC staff will facilitate a discussion regarding advances in market modeling that have the potential to improve efficiency. FERC will accept comments following the conference, with a deadline of July 31, 2017. Continue Reading FERC to Convene Technical Conference on Increasing Real-Time and Day-Ahead Market Efficiency through Improved Software
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 Supreme Court of the United States denied a petition to review FERC’s requirement in Order No. 1000 that transmission providers remove from their tariffs and agreements provisions granting incumbent transmission owners a right of first refusal (“ROFR”) to construct transmission facilities selected in a regional transmission plan (see April 13, 2016 edition of the WER). The October 14, 2016 petition, filed by a group of Midcontinent Independent System Operator, Inc. (“MISO”) transmission owners, requested review of an April 8, 2016 decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (“Seventh Circuit”) upholding FERC’s requirement.
The denial of the petition for writ of certiorari means that the Seventh Circuit’s April 8, 2016 ruling will stand. The case is docketed in Case No. 16-531.
On March 3, 2017, Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) filed revisions to its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“Tariff”) to implement a Resource Adequacy Requirement (“RAR”) applicable to all entities responsible for serving load (“LREs”) within the SPP Balancing Authority Area (“BAA”). SPP seeks to implement the RAR for the forthcoming summer period from June 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017, while delaying the assessment of penalties for non-compliance until the 2018 RAR cycle.