On January 31, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (collectively, “Agencies”) released a final rule on the “Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’—Addition of an Applicability Date to 2015 Clean Water Rule” (“WOTUS Applicability Rule”).  This final rule implements a two-year delay for the effective date of the 2015 rule that re-defined jurisdictional “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (“2015 WOTUS Rule”).  As explained in previous Van Ness Feldman alerts, the 2015 WOTUS Rule has far-reaching implications for project development across energy, water, agricultural, construction, and transportation sectors.  The WOTUS Applicability Rule may provide predictability to the... READ MORE
On January 22, 2018, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision concerning rulemaking over the definition of “waters of the United States” (“WOTUS”) under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”) (the “WOTUS Rule”).  Nat’l Ass’n of Mfrs. v. Dep’t of Def., No. 16-299 (2018).  As explained in previous Van Ness Feldman alerts circulated in March 2014, June 2015, May 2016, March 2017, July 2017 and November 2017, the WOTUS Rule, which re-defined jurisdictional “waters of the United States” under the CWA, has far-reaching implications for project development across energy, water, agricultural, construction, and transportation sectors.  Although the Supreme Court’s decision merely resolves a jurisdictional dispute between the federal courts of appeals and the... READ MORE
On January 8, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order terminating the rulemaking proceeding initiated by the Secretary of Energy under §403(a) of the Department of Energy Organization Act that proposed to develop cost recovery mechanisms for “grid reliability and resiliency resources.”  While declining to adopt the Secretary’s proposal, FERC acknowledged the importance of grid resilience and initiated a new proceeding to seek additional information from FERC-jurisdictional Independent System Operators (ISOs) and Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) to evaluate the resilience of the bulk power system in those regions. Background On September 29, 2017, Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, exercising a rarely-used... READ MORE
Justin Moeller, partner in the firm's electric practice, will be speaking on "The Cash Flow Foundation for Project Financing" during LSI's Electric Transmission in the Northeast Conference.   Justin will be providing conference attendees with an update on FERC cost-of service rate making cases, including transmission formula rate cases, market-based rate issues and renewable resource integration.   READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to sponsor the 2018 DecomWorld Summit in Houston, TX on February 20-21, 2018.   Mike Farber  will be speaking on navigating legal and regulatory issues related to decommissioning and abandonment, and will be accompanied by Jonathan Simon.   Mike's presentation will focus on the following topics:    Overview of current Administration statements and policies on financial assurance and decommissioning Discussion of potential decommissioning and financial assurance reforms Optimal strategies for engaging BSEE, BOEM and other federal agencies What to expect in the event of a safety/environmental incident during decommissioning operations   For more information to and to register for DecomWorld ... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Keturah Brown was honored by the George Washington University Law School (GW Law) for her accomplishments in serving at-risk Washington, DC residents.  Having recently been named a "Rising Star" by the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, GW Law honored Keturah in observance of Black History Month, celebrating the contributions of current students and alumni. Keturah volunteered her time over the past several years, first as a law clerk and then as an associate, providing initial advice and ongoing advocacy to ensure that these vulnerable residents are treated fairly and have equal access to justice. In a recent interview with GW Law discussing her work and achievements, Keturah said, "Public service is innate to me. ... READ MORE
At Van Ness Feldman, our professional accomplishments are only as important as the more personal and long-lasting partnerships we are able to achieve within the communities we call home.  Recently, several of the firm’s young associates have demonstrated that this commitment to community service is not just a professional obligation, but one that is an individual, personal calling that highlights the best in all of us. READ MORE
Seasons Greetings! Best Wishes for a Peaceful Holiday Season and an Abundant and Joyous New Year.   READ MORE
Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee Will Convene a Teleconference March 2 On March 2, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) will convene a telephonic meeting to continue considering the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) proposed rule that would amend safety regulations applicable to gas transmission and gathering pipelines.  Topics to be considered include integrity management, record retention and repair criteria.  The meeting is public; advanced registration is required. DOT Issues Recommendations to Reduce Regulatory Burdens on Domestic Energy Production  On December 22, 2017, the Department of Transportation (DOT) released a final report identifying regulatory actions that may directly or indirectly burden the... READ MORE
NERC NERC Comments in Support of FERC NOPR on Coordination and Personnel Training - January 29 - NERC filed comments supporting the FERC NOPR which proposes the approval of Reliability Standard PRC-027-1 (Coordination for Protection Systems for Performance During Faults), PER-006-1 (Specific Training for Personnel) and the retirement of PRC-001-1.1(ii). NERC asserted that the proposed standards would, improve upon the existing standard and “more effectively accomplish the reliability goals of ensuring that appropriate personnel are trained on Protection Systems and that Protection System settings are appropriately studied, coordinated, and monitored.” NERC Board of Trustees to Consider Revisions to ROP - January 24 - Upon approval by the NERC... READ MORE
Supreme Court Rules that Challenges to Waters of the United States Rule Belong in District Courts On January 22, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court held that challenges to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) 2015 final rule redefining jurisdictional “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (CWA), commonly called the “WOTUS Rule,” belong in the district courts, rather than the appellate courts.  The controversial WOTUS Rule, issued by the Obama administration, expands federal control over several types of water bodies, and requires federal permits for dredging, filling, or discharging pollution to those water bodies.  The rule, which was challenged by a number of parties, has been stayed by... READ MORE