On March 31, 2015, the Departments of Agriculture, the Interior, and Commerce (the Departments) issued revised interim final rules (revised rules) for expedited trial-type hearings and submission of alternative conditions under the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPAct).  The trial-type hearings are conducted to resolve disputed issues of material fact with respect to mandatory conditions and fishway prescriptions submitted by the Departments for inclusion in a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hydropower license.  The interim final rules were initially issued in November 2005 (2005 rules).  Since then, approximately 20 hearing requests have been made, many of which have resulted in negotiated agreements with the Departments, and some of which... READ MORE
On January 30, 2015, President Obama amended Executive Order 13690, regarding federal agencies’ consideration of floodplains, to redefine the regulated floodplain and establish the Federal Flood Risk Management Standard (FFRMS) aimed at protecting federal projects, approvals, and investments from increased flood risk associated with climate change.  Originally approved by President Carter in 1977, Executive Order 11988, required federal agencies to avoid, to the extent possible, the adverse impacts inherent in occupying the floodplain.  President Obama’s amendment significantly expands that original vision to a broader geographic area and applies more restrictive development standards with the goal of insuring that federally funded, permitted, or... READ MORE
On February 24, 2015, the U.S. Department of the Interior ("DOI") proposed new, more stringent planning requirements and safety standards for exploratory drilling operations in the Beaufort and Chukchi Sea Planning Areas in the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf ("OCS").  The proposed rule, “Oil and Gas and Sulphur Operations on the Outer Continental Shelf –Requirements for Exploratory Drilling on the Arctic Outer Continental Shelf,” issued by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (“BOEM”) and the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (“BSEE”), is designed “to ensure safe, effective, and responsible exploration of Arctic OCS oil and gas resources, while protecting the marine, coastal, and human environments, and Alaska Natives’ cultural... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Jay Derr will be speaking in a panel entitled, "Transportation of Oil By Rail:  The Challenge of Developing Public Policy to Address Random Events with Potentially Catastrophic Consequences."  Mr. Derr will be providing a "developer perspective on the potential impact of revised federal, state, and local oil train regulations on proposed export projects for the Pacific Northwest."   READ MORE
Malcolm McLellan will serve as Program Co-Chair at Law Seminars International's Electric Transmission in the West.   Attendees will have the chance to focus on federal and state transmission policy trends, the expected impacts of the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed regulations, and transmission operations affecting the Interconnection amongst other issues affecting electric transmission in the western states. For more information and to register, please visit Law Seminars International's website. READ MORE
David Yaffe will be a featured faculty member at the 2015 Legal Essentials for Energy Professionals course sponsored by the Vermont Law School and the Environmental Law Institute.  He will be teaching a course entitled, "Special Considerations for Public Power: Municipal Utilities, Cooperatives, and Power Marketing Agencies". This rigorous, one-week course will provide electricity professionals with the foundation to more fully understand how lawyers think about the role of federal and state energy commissions and how to operate effectively within these structures. Beginning with the basic functions of government and building to the interplay among state, federal, and regional oversight when planning new energy infrastructures, the course offers a... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that Mona Tandon has rejoined the Firm as a partner. Ms. Tandon advises clients that own and operate crude oil and products pipelines, natural gas pipelines, and electric utilities on federal and state regulatory matters, transactional issues, general corporate matters, and legislative issues. She also represents clients in federal and state administrative litigation, and counsels energy companies on compliance with federal and state requirements, including corporate governance, infrastructure security, and risk management. She also assists clients with issues regarding project development and acquisitions.  Ms. Tandon is an active participant in the firm’s pro bono practice and a member of the diversity... READ MORE
Almost a decade ago, Van Ness Feldman’s Alan Mintz started drafting a piece of legislation intended to resolve and finalize the indigenous land claims of Sealaska Corporation.  Today, at around 5 p.m., the U.S. Senate passed that legislation as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, on a vote of 89-11.  It now goes to the President for his signature.  The firm serves as Washington, DC counsel to Sealaska, the regional Native Corporation for southeastern Alaska (which includes 20,000 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian tribal member shareholders), representing the company on government relations matters before Congress and federal agencies.  The legislation authorizes Sealaska to select 70,000 acres of land in the Tongass National Forest in... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman congratulates our former colleague, Boyd Rutherford, who was elected to serve as Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor in Governor-Elect Larry Hogan’s administration.  Mr. Rutherford was an associate with the firm in the mid-1990’s.  We are also pleased to congratulate Marc Korman and Bill Frick on their election to the Maryland House of Delegates for District 16.  Mr. Korman is the son of Van Ness Feldman partner, Paul Korman, and Mr. Frick is the son of former Van Ness Feldman partner, G. William Frick. Chairman of the firm, Richard Agnew, said of the election victories, “We celebrate the success of Boyd, Marc, and Bill and know they will serve the people of Maryland with integrity and honor.” READ MORE