The City of Seattle has struggled for decades with the issue of how to provide sufficient affordable housing. In the 1980s and 1990s, Seattle attempted to discourage the demolition and conversion of existing low-income housing by adopting “Housing Preservation” ordinances that imposed fees or required developers to provide replacement housing. Washington courts rejected these mandatory requirements, ruling they were unauthorized taxes or unconstitutional conditions that placed an unfair burden on individual landowners to solve a “community” problem. After Seattle’s failed experiment with mandatory affordable housing requirements, the City shifted its focus to voluntary programs. These programs include various land use incentive zoning provisions... READ MORE
We are communicating with each of you to be sure that all of our clients and friends are aware that the Chairs of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce intend to report comprehensive energy legislation from their committees before the scheduled start of the August congressional recess, July 30th in the House of Representatives and August 7th in the Senate.  Both Chairmen, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Representative Fred Upton (R-MI), have stated that they want the legislation to be bipartisan, if possible, and are following similar processes for developing the legislation. We recognize that, based on the records of legislative achievement of recent Congresses, the notion of... READ MORE
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has issued a final rule imposing new specifications for rail tank cars used in high-volume flammable liquid service, new classification requirements for unrefined petroleum-based products, and rail operational restrictions for certain trains (Final Rule).  The primary purposes of the rule are to reduce the probability and consequences of accidents of trains moving large quantities of flammable liquid.  PHMSA received comments from over 3,200 stakeholders during the last stage of the rulemaking process and published the Final Rule nine months after issuing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in August 2014.  PHMSA’s rulemaking has occurred... 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
Shannon Angielski, a principal with Van Ness Feldman’s Public Policy practice and the Associate Director of the Coal Utilization Research Council (CURC), has been appointed to the National Coal Council by Secretary of Energy, Ernest Moniz. The National Coal Council is a federal advisory committee, comprised of approximately 100 members who are appointed by the Secretary of Energy and serve in varying capacities to provide information, analysis, and answer questions posed by the Secretary regarding coal policy issues.  As the Associate Director of CURC, Ms. Angielski develops and supports coalition initiatives and designs legislative proposals for clean energy and climate change policies and programs that support continued coal use. Ms. Angielski... READ MORE
Led by Paul Korman, Amy Beizer, and Emily Pitlick, Van Ness Feldman successfully represented MoGas Pipeline LLC (MoGas) as an intervenor in Missouri Public Service Commission v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).   The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit found that FERC properly applied its “benefits exception” test precedent when it permitted MoGas to include an acquisition premium in its initial rate base.  An acquisition premium is the amount greater than a regulated facility’s net book value that is paid to acquire it.  Generally, the recovery of an acquisition premium in pipeline rates is not allowed unless the pipeline meets FERC’s two-part “benefits exception” test.  The test permits recovery of an... 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