Category Archives: FERC

IRA Side Deal on Permitting Raising Ire

In order to pass the Inflation Reduction Act (“Act”) last month, a deal was struck with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) to create separate legislation to reform federal energy project permitting.  Now that the Act has been signed into law, Senate Democrats are making good on their promise but, as might be expected, not all parties are supportive.

The reforms (and funding necessary to effectuate them) are proposed to be included as part of a Continuing Resolution that must be passed to prevent a government shutdown beginning October 1.  … More

FERC Proposes to Reform Transmission Planning; It’s Not a Small Task

Late last month, FERC issued a notice of proposed rulemaking.  Its intent is to “remedy deficiencies in the Commission’s existing regional transmission planning and cost allocation requirements.”  In short, it’s time for a 21st Century grid that actually accommodates changes in how electricity is being generated.

I’m not sure I can improve much on FERC’s own summary of the NOPR:

the proposal would require public utility transmission providers to (1) conduct long-term regional transmission planning on a sufficiently forward-looking basis to meet transmission needs driven by changes in the resource mix and demand;… More

The D.C. Circuit Again Requires FERC to Consider the Environmental Impacts of Downstream Use of Gas: How Big a Deal Is It?

Last week, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals again rejected a FERC NEPA review for failure to assess the climate impacts resulting from the downstream use of natural gas supplied by a gas pipeline upgrade project approved by FERC.  The Court found that FERC was too quick to conclude that those downstream impacts could not reasonably be evaluated.

How big a deal is this? … More

FERC Cannot Avoid the Social Cost of Carbon By Arguing That It is Not Universally Accepted

On August 3, the District of Columbia Court of Appeals held that FERC could not avoid use of the social cost of carbon in assessing the impacts of natural gas projects by arguing that “there is no universally accepted methodology.”  Given the growing recognition of the significant role FERC is going to have in combatting climate change, it’s an important decision. 

FERC acknowledged that construction and operation of the projects under review would “contribute incrementally to future climate change impacts.”  However,… More

States Really, Really, Must Act on Water Quality Certification Applications Within One Year

The saga of judicial efforts to enforce the one-year limit on state review of applications for water quality certifications under Section 401 of the Clean Water Act shows no sign of reaching a conclusion.

First, in Hoopa Valley Tribe v. FERC, the D.C. Circuit held that an agreement between the applicant and the state pursuant to which the applicant repeatedly withdrew and resubmitted its 401 application could not escape the statutory time limit on state review.… More

FERC Considers GHG Emissions in a Gas Pipeline Review — Everyone Is Unhappy

According to E&E News (subscription required), FERC yesterday, for the first time, assessed the impacts of a gas pipeline’s downstream GHG emissions.  (As of this writing, the decision is not yet available on FERC’s web site.)

Former chair James Danly was unhappy, calling the decision “legally infirm.”  I question Commissioner’s judgment on this one.

Neil Chatterjee provided the Republican vote in favor, saying that he made a pragmatic decision,… More