On January 29, 2019, over 180 environmental organizations (“Environmental Groups”) wrote a letter to members of Congress requesting a congressional hearing into the approval process for interstate gas pipelines.  The Environmental Groups argue that FERC approves nearly all proposed pipelines, abuses its eminent domain authority, and relies on erroneous data when evaluating whether to allow pipeline companies to begin construction. Continue Reading Environmental Groups Request Congressional Hearing on FERC Approval of Interstate Gas Pipelines

On January 17, 2019, FERC denied requests for rehearing of its prior order to revoke Boyce Hydro Power, LLC’s (“Boyce Hydro”) license for its 4.8 MW Edenville Project No. 10808 (“Edenville Project”), which consists of a 6,600-foot-long dam in Michigan.  Boyce Hydro and the Sanford Lake Preservation Association (“Sanford Lake”) (together, the “Petitioners”) raised several claims in their requests for rehearing, including that FERC discounted the efforts Boyce Hydro took to remedy safety issues at the dam.  Continue Reading FERC Denies Rehearing of Order Revoking Hydro Project License

On January 16, 2019, FERC launched investigations and initiated hearings pursuant to Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) section 5 into three natural gas pipeline companies in response to their Form No. 501-G filings to explore whether they have been over-recovering their costs of service.  Separately, FERC also found that nine other gas companies sufficiently complied with FERC’s directives in Order No. 849 and terminated their Form No. 501-G proceedings without taking any further action. Continue Reading FERC Initiates NGA Section 5 Investigations into Three Gas Pipelines’ Rates, Terminates Nine Other Proceedings in Response to Form 501-G Filings

On December 6 and December 18, 2018, various environmental groups filed a motion and comments with FERC requesting that Commissioner Bernard McNamee recuse himself from FERC’s two ongoing grid resiliency proceedings.  The groups argued that because Commissioner McNamee represented the Department of Energy (“DOE”) when the agency proposed compensating “fuel-secure” units for their contribution to the resilience of the electrical grid, recusal is appropriate because he is already a party to the proceedings, and in any event, may have already “prejudged” central matters of law and fact relevant to those dockets. Continue Reading Advocates Request Recusal of Newly-Confirmed Commissioner McNamee from Grid Resiliency Proceedings

On December 7, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (“Sixth Circuit”) affirmed the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio’s (“District Court”) granting of a preliminary injunction to Nexus Gas Transmission, LLC (“Nexus”).  The preliminary injunction will allow Nexus to exercise the right of eminent domain under the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) to build an interstate natural gas pipeline through parts of Ohio and Michigan.  The Sixth Circuit held that the District Court did not abuse its discretion in balancing the preliminary injunction factors and in refusing to allow an evidentiary hearing on the issue. Continue Reading Sixth Circuit Affirms Preliminary Injunction, Enabling Nexus Pipeline to Exercise Right of Eminent Domain for Pipeline Construction

On November 27, 2018, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“ENR Committee”) advanced FERC nominee Bernard McNamee to a full vote on the Senate floor.  The ENR Committee furthered Mr. McNamee’s nomination with a bipartisan vote of 13-10, with one Democrat joining the entire Republican majority on the ENR Committee.  If confirmed by the full Senate, Mr. McNamee will join current FERC Commissioners Cheryl A. LaFleur, Richard Glick, Kevin McIntyre, and Chairman Neil Chatterjee. Continue Reading Senate Committee Advances FERC Appointee Bernard McNamee to Confirmation Vote

On November 15, 2018, FERC issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) to implement Public Law No. 115-247, which amended section 203 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) to clarify that FERC authorization is only required for mergers or consolidations valued at more than $10 million.  In addition, in accordance with the new law’s requirements, FERC proposes that transactions that are valued at $10 million or less, but more than $1 million, would only be subject to a notification requirement.

Continue Reading FERC Issues NOPR Implementing Changes to FPA Section 203

On November 15, 2018, Bernard L. McNamee, who has been nominated to fill the vacancy left by former FERC Commissioner Robert Powelson, testified before the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (“Committee”).  Currently, Mr. McNamee heads the Department of Energy’s (“DOE”) Office of Policy. Continue Reading FERC Nominee Bernard McNamee Testifies Before Senate Committee on Energy & Natural Resources

On November 5, 2018, the American Wind Energy Association and the Wind Coalition (together, the “Wind Developers”) filed a complaint against Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) regarding SPP’s Bylaws and Membership Agreement.  Specifically, the Wind Developers object to the sections of the Bylaws and Membership Agreement which impose financial obligations (“exit fees”) on independent power producers (“IPPs”), other comparable non-transmission owners (“non-TOs”), and non-load-serving entities (“non-LSEs”).  The Wind Developers argue that the exit fee violates cost causation principles, may pose a barrier to entry into SPP to vote on critical issues, directly affects jurisdictional rates, and that therefore, the exit fee is unjust, unreasonable, and unduly discriminatory. Continue Reading Wind Developers File Complaint Against SPP Exit Fee for IPPs, non-TOs, and non-LSEs

On October 29, 2018, FERC approved the California Independent System Operator Corp.’s (“CAISO”) tariff revisions related to its Energy Imbalance Market (“EIM”) bid adders, which reflect EIM participating resources’ costs to comply with the California Air Resources Board’s (“CARB”) greenhouse gas (“GHG”) regulations.  Specifically, FERC accepted CAISO’s proposal to limit the hourly megawatt quantity included in an EIM bid adder to the range between the EIM resource’s base schedule and its effective upper economic bid for that hour. Continue Reading FERC Approves Limit to Hourly MW Quantity Included in CAISO EIM GHG Bid Adders