On June 27, 2016, in a landmark decision, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a permanent injunction by the U.S. District Court of Western Washington against the State of Washington (“State”) requiring it to replace or repair culverts blocking fish passage in streams throughout the state. The district court had imposed the injunction to remedy claims by Tribes that the State built and operates culverts underneath state roads that make it difficult or impossible for fish to move freely through streams in the State, thereby diminishing the number of fish traveling through the Tribes’ “usual and accustomed” fishing grounds and stations, thus violating the Tribes’ Treaty-based fishing rights by depriving the Tribes the opportunity to earn a... READ MORE
Today, the House Republican Task Force on Tax Reform, led by Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX), released “A Better Way for Tax Reform," the House Republicans’ Blueprint for pro-growth, comprehensive tax reform.  The report proposes to reduce individual, corporate, and pass-through business tax rates while providing full expensing for business costs and moving the United States from a worldwide international tax system to a ‘territorial’ dividend-exemption system. The Blueprint would also repeal both the corporate and individual alternative minimum tax. Business Income The Blueprint proposes to reduce the top U.S. corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and a new, low tax rate of 25 percent for pass-through... READ MORE
Introduction On May 23, 2016, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (“Corps”) released a pre-publication version of its “Proposal to Reissue and Modify Nationwide Permits” (the “Proposal”).  The Proposal presents a draft version of the Corps’ latest renewal of its program for “Nationwide Permits” (NWPs) that authorize general categories of construction in waters of the United States.  This begins the process for renewing and revising the 2012 NWPs that are set to expire on March 18, 2017.  The Corps has proposed changes to several existing NWPs, as well as the issuance of two new NWPs and modification to some of the General Condition and Definitions.  The Corps’ proposed modifications to existing NWPs, which are tabulated in the Corps’ summary table... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Malcolm McLellan will be providing a national update on North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) standards and enforcement trends in a section entitled, "The RPS and Reliability." Click here for more information. READ MORE
Join Justin Moeller, partner in Van Ness Feldman's electric practice, for an educational talk about the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) at the 20th annual Mid-C Seminar.  This year's theme for the Mid-C Seminar will be "The New World" covering the changing landscape on regulatory issues, RECs, physical trading, and will explore the operational challenges of the changing resource mix and behind the meter generation and potential solutions including smart grid. For more information and to register, please visit the Mid-C Seminar website.   READ MORE
Held over five days, HydroVision International is the largets gathering of hydro professionals worldwide.  The event highlights perspectives on the role of hydropower, explores issues affecting resources, and develops a path to ensure the future and sustainability of hydro.   Van Ness Feldman's Chuck Sensiba, John Clements, and Sharon White are all speaking in this year's event. Click here for more information. READ MORE
Washington, DC and Seattle – For the fifth year in a row, The Legal 500 United States, 2016, recognized Van Ness Feldman as a national leader in Energy Regulatory law.  The firm is one of only three, “Top Tier” Energy Regulatory law firms to be recognized in the US.       Highlighting the firm’s work in the electric, hydroelectric, and oil & gas areas, the publication describes Van Ness Feldman professionals as having “an unusually broad level of experience in handling uncommon issues’” and having “outstanding industry knowledge.” The firm was also recognized among the top firms in the Environment: Regulatory area for a fifth time, citing the firm as offering “superb services,” in this area.  Van Ness Feldman also received an inaugural ranking... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that Maranda S. Compton has joined the firm’s Native Affairs practice as Of Counsel. Ms. Compton brings nearly a decade of experience working on federal Indian law, energy, natural resource, and consumer finance issues to the firm. As an Associate in the Denver office of a global law firm, Ms. Compton focused on representing tribal and non-tribal clients in commercial transactions, project development, issues of federal, state and tribal regulation, environmental permitting, and energy and natural resources.  She has particular knowledge of the oil and gas industry.  Ms. Compton is also an enrolled member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.   The addition of Ms. Compton... READ MORE
Shannon Angielski, Principal in Van Ness Feldman's Government Relations and Policy practice and Executive Director of the Coal Utilization Research Council, participated in a Republican Policy Committee Hearing titled A Conservative Clean Energy Agenda: Developing Clean Energy Through Innovation and Free Market Solutions today.   The hearing focused on possible conservative solutions to advance clean energy innovation and the potential benefits that conservative clean energy policies may have on domestic energy security, energy sector jobs, and the economy as a whole. Shannon was featured on a panel consisting of industry representatives and conservative clean energy thought leaders, including: • Jay Faison, Founder and CEO, ClearPath... READ MORE
FERC FERC Approves NERC Revised Definition - June 23 - FERC approved NERC’s uncontested filing to revise the definition of “Special Protection Systems” in the Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards.  The revision was proposed to match the revised definition of “Remedial Action Scheme” (RAS), which will ensure that references to either term refers to the revised definition of RAS approved by the Commission. Letter Order Approving Six Glossary Definitions - June 23 – FERC issued a letter order approving six terms in the Glossary of Terms Used in NERC Reliability Standards, and NERC’s request for a shortened response period and expedited action.  NERC states that the proposed revised definitions reduce potential confusion associated... READ MORE
FERC FERC Holds Reliability Technical Conference - June 1 - FERC held a technical conference to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System.  The conference included discussion on NERC’s 2016 State of Reliability Report, international perspectives in dealing with renewable energy and their potential effects on reliability, and the ongoing effort to secure and maintain grid security.  The presentations from each conference panel have been posted for public interest. FERC Accepts Aliso Canyon Proposal from CAISO; Sets Technical Conference - June 1 -  FERC issued an order accepting revisions to the California Independent System Operator’s (CAISO’s) tariff to address limitations in the natural gas delivery system in... READ MORE
Legislative Update The House and Senate are one step closer to convening a conference to resolve the differences between their respective energy bills.  On May 25, 2016, the House approved an 806-page amendment to the Senate’s energy bill (S. 2012) that includes the House passed energy bill (H.R. 8) and over 30 other provisions dealing with energy and natural resources issues.  As described in the January 2016 Newsletter, the bill maintains the H.R. 8 hydro licensing reform provisions improvements, including provisions that designate the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) as lead agency for coordinating federal authorizations from all agencies needed to develop a project, requiring all such agencies to coordinate their activities and... READ MORE