The outlook for comprehensive tax reform legislation has changed dramatically.  The release of the Unified Framework for Tax Reform, and a realistic path forward for an FY 2018 Budget Resolution with budget reconciliation instructions providing for tax reform, has changed the political outlook.  Based on our work on tax reform over the last few years, we are more positive about the prospects for tax reform in this Congress than we have been in recent years.  Lawmakers are making decisions on the details of tax reform, and companies that are concerned about the impact of the various proposals on their businesses should be talking with Members of Congress and staff now.  Over the last six months, Senate Majority Leader McConnell, House Speaker Ryan... READ MORE
Senate Committee Advances Legislation to Support the Development of Highly Automated Vehicles. READ MORE
On September 29, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry sent a proposal in the form of a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), exercising the Secretary’s rarely-used authority under §403(a) of the Department of Energy (DOE) Organization Act.  The proposed rule, which is intended to stem the tide of coal and nuclear generation retirements, would require FERC-jurisdictional Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) to develop cost recovery mechanisms for “grid reliability and resiliency resources.”  Secretary Perry has established an aggressive 60-day timeframe for FERC action on the NOPR, with the aim of having new compensation mechanisms in place by winter.    ... READ MORE
The CSIS Energy & National Security Program and Van Ness Feldman are pleased to announce a conference on the history of vehicle efficiency standards and electricity regulation in honor of the late Robert Nordhaus. This program looks at the evolution of two policy areas in which Bob made an important mark, and which raise issues of great significance today. Van Ness Feldman partner Doug Smith is participating in a panel discussing current technology changes in the electric power sector and the lessons learned from past reform periods. The conference is being held at the CSIS headquarters in Washington, DC on October 19, 2017 from 12:30 pm to 5:30 pm.  Click here for more information and to register. READ MORE
Several Van Ness Feldman attorneys will be presenting at this year's HydroVision International conference in Denver, CO on June 27-30, 2017.  Mike Swiger and Chuck Sensiba will be participating on a panel discussing FAST, WRDA, HREA and other regulatory developments that will affect hydro licensing. Julia Wood will be speaking on new approaches to mitigation in the United States and  Maranda Compton, member of our Native Affairs practice, will be speaking on building relationships with Tribes/First Nations to improve water management.  As the largest gathering of hydro professionals worldwide, HydroVision features 3000+ attendees and 320+ exhibiting companies from around the world for a week of informative hydropower-focused meetings, workshops... READ MORE
The City of Houston, Texas has hired former Senator Mary Landrieu and VNF Solutions to advise the City on the recovery and rebuilding process in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.  READ MORE
Former Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA), appeared before a House Natural Resources Subcommittee panel on October 11, 2017 to testify in favor of offshore drilling revenue sharing amongst coastal states.   Senator Landrieu, who served as Chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee while she was in Congress, testified that coastal states adjacent to federal offshore oil and gas development experience the same effects as “hosts” of the federal activity and, therefore should be eligible for revenue sharing.  Senator Landrieu was instrumental in passing the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA) that provided for the first time limited revenue sharing with Texas, Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, off whose coasts virtually all... READ MORE
Kyle Danish, a partner in the firm's environmental practice  was quoted in the New York Times today in an article entitled, Courts Thwart Administration’s Effort to Rescind Obama-Era Environmental Regulations. READ MORE
FERC FERC Issues NOPR on Emergency Preparedness Operations Reliability Standards - September 20 - The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed a rule to implement the following Emergency Preparedness and Operations (EOP) Reliability Standards: EOP-004-4 (Event Reporting) - Proposed Reliability Standard EOP-004-4 requires reporting of events by responsible entities. The reportable events under the proposed Reliability Standard are collected and used to examine the underlying causes of events; track subsequent corrective action to prevent recurrence of such events; and develop lessons learned for industry. EOP-005-3 (System Restoration from Blackstart Resources) - The purpose of proposed Reliability Standard EOP-005-3 is to ensure... READ MORE
FERC Commissioner Nominees Approved by Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee On September 19, 2017, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources (Senate ENR) reported favorably the nominations of Republican Richard Glick and Democrat Kevin McIntyre to be commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  There were no votes against either nominee.  Mr. McIntyre is a partner in the energy law practice of Jones Day.  He has been nominated to succeed Neil Chatterjee as FERC Chairman upon confirmation.  Mr. Glick is currently the general counsel for the Democrats on the Senate ENR.  The next step in the confirmation process is for the nominees to be vetted by both parties for any holds that individual Senators may have... READ MORE
White House Nominates Howard “Skip” Elliott to be PHMSA Administrator On September 11, President Trump nominated Howard (“Skip”) R. Elliott to serve as the Administrator of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  According to a White House announcement, Mr. Elliott had a long career in the freight rail industry, and for the last 10 years served as the group Vice President of Public Safety, Health, Environment and Security for CSX Transportation, where he worked on hazardous materials transportation safety, homeland security, crisis management, and environmental compliance and operations.  He was involved in developing and implementing computer-based tools to assist emergency management officials, first responders, and... READ MORE