On November 16, 2017, FERC denied requests for rehearing by various parties (“Petitioners”) and a request for rehearing and stay by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (“NYSDEC”) of FERC’s approval of Millennium Pipeline Company, L.L.C.’s (“Millennium”) Valley Lateral Project.  In doing so, FERC rejected Petitioners’ claims that (1) FERC’s National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) analysis was inadequate, (2) Millennium had not demonstrated need for the project, and (3) FERC lacked jurisdiction to approve the project.  FERC also dismissed NYSDEC’s argument that FERC failed to consider the downstream greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions resulting from the Valley Lateral Project, holding that NYSDEC’s request was untimely. Continue Reading FERC Denies Rehearing and Stay of Millennium’s Valley Lateral Project

On November 7, 2017, FERC approved a settlement between FERC’s Office of Enforcement and Barclays Bank PLC (“Barclays”), Daniel Brin, Scott Connelly, and Karen Levine (collectively with Barclays, “Defendants”) that resolves FERC’s claims that Defendants manipulated physical electricity markets.  Under the settlement, Barclays is required to pay $105 million in civil penalties and disgorgement, a big reduction compared to the $488 million FERC originally ordered. Continue Reading FERC Approves $105 Million Settlement with Barclays for Market Manipulation

On October 23, 2017, FERC approved San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s (“SDG&E”) and Sempra Gas & Power Marketing, LLC’s (“Sempra”; collectively, “Applicants”) request for authorization for SDG&E to purchase Resource Adequacy capacity at market-based rates from its affiliate, Sempra, pursuant to a competitive solicitation process.  In doing so, FERC concluded that the solicitation did not unduly favor Sempra and thus satisfied FERC’s concerns regarding affiliate abuse. Continue Reading FERC Approves Affiliate Transaction Between SDG&E and Sempra

On October 25, 2017, FERC released a final report regarding whether its policies materially burden the development and use of domestic energy resources (“Final Report”).  While FERC concluded that most agency actions are not materially burdensome or are necessary to administer its statutory mandates, FERC recommended certain changes to licensing processes, exemption processes, and determinations on deficient applications for hydropower resources.  Continue Reading FERC Releases Final Report on Review of Agency Actions

On October 19, 2017, FERC ordered Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (“SPP”) to revise its Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) to provide that network customers with service subject to redispatch can only obtain Auction Revenue Rights (“ARRs”) and Long-Term Congestion Rights (“LTCRs”) for those times and in the amounts that service can be provided without redispatch. Continue Reading FERC Directs SPP to Change Eligibility for Certain Transmission Rights

On October 6, 2017, FERC approved the New York Independent System Operator, Inc. (“NYISO”) and PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.’s (“PJM”; together with NYISO, “RTOs”) revisions to their Joint Operating Agreement (“JOA”), and NYISO’s revisions to its Market Administration and Control Area Services Tariff (“Tariff”), that address interchange schedule and Market-to-Market (“M2M”) coordination at the ABC and JK Interfaces on the border of northern New Jersey and southeastern New York.  Specifically, FERC found that the RTOs’ proposal to implement a wheeling arrangement over a newly formed PJM-NY AC Proxy Bus and to establish an Operational Base Flow (“OBF”) over the Interfaces was just and reasonable. Continue Reading FERC Approves Plan to Address Congestion Management Between NYISO and PJM

On September 28, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (“District Court”) dismissed the Adorers of the Blood of Christ’s (“Plaintiffs”) claims that FERC violated the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (“RFRA”) by authorizing Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (“Transco”) to take property owned by Plaintiffs to construct and operate its Atlantic Sunrise Project on Plaintiffs’ property.  In particular, the District Court held that (1) it lacked subject matter jurisdiction over Plaintiffs’ action because U.S. Courts of Appeals have exclusive jurisdiction over FERC’s decisions and issues “inhering in the controversy” and (2) Plaintiffs could not collaterally attack FERC’s certificate order authorizing Transco to take Plaintiffs’ land after Plaintiffs failed to file objections at FERC.   Continue Reading District Court Dismisses Group’s Religious Freedom Claims Involving Pipeline Project

On September 27, 2017, FERC Staff issued a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (“EIS”) for the Southeast Market Pipelines Project (“SMP Project”) in response to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit’s (“D.C. Circuit”) decision in Sierra Club v. FERC, which directed FERC to supplement its final EIS by estimating the downstream incremental greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the SMP Project and explaining whether it considers the “Social Cost of Carbon” tool useful for National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) purposes.  In the draft supplemental EIS, FERC Staff (1) estimated the downstream incremental greenhouse gas emissions in Florida resulting from the project, and affirmed its conclusion in the final EIS that the SMP Project, with certain mitigation measures, will not result in significant adverse effects on the environment, and (2) explained that it does not find the “Social Cost of Carbon” tool useful for project-level NEPA analyses. Continue Reading FERC Staff Updates EIS for Pipeline Project to Address Downstream Greenhouse Gas Emissions

On September 20, 2017, FERC rejected Southwest Power Pool, Inc’s (“SPP”) Order No. 825 compliance filing that would have created a demand curve to set scarcity prices for energy shortages.  Specifically, FERC held that SPP’s establishment of a demand curve to set scarcity prices was outside the scope of Order No. 825, which required SPP to establish triggers for shortage pricing, rather than change the actual shortage pricing levels. Continue Reading FERC Rejects SPP’s Proposal to Set Scarcity Prices

On the evening of August 3, 2017, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously to confirm Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson, two of President Donald Trump’s nominees to join Acting Chairman Cheryl LaFleur as FERC Commissioners.  Once Chatterjee and Powelson are officially sworn in at the Commission, the quorum that has been lacking since former Chairman Norman Bay resigned earlier this year will be restored, enabling the Commission to vote on matters before it.  On September 7, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources also is scheduled to consider the nominations of Richard Glick and Kevin McIntyre—the final two nominees for the five-member Commission whose names the White House sent to the Senate in August. Continue Reading FERC Quorum Soon to Be Restored as Senate Confirms Neil Chatterjee and Robert Powelson to Serve as Commissioners