On June 9, 2017, the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) issued a direct final rule that extends the amount of time a lessee or operator is given to resume operations or to seek a suspension of operations (SOO) or suspension of production (SOP) to retain an offshore oil and gas lease beyond the primary lease term.  The rule, which lengthens this period from 180 days to one year, was specifically required by the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017.  It also furthers the Trump Administration’s efforts to address agency actions or policies that burden the development or use of domestically-produced energy resources, including oil and natural gas, as set forth in Executive Order (E.O.) 13783 (‘‘Promoting Energy Independence and... READ MORE
On May 23, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) issued Delaware Riverkeeper Network v. FERC (Riverkeeper).  The decision upholds the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) practice of issuing conditional certificates to natural gas pipelines under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA), prior to a pipeline applicant’s receipt of a Clean Water Act (CWA) 401 certification.  Riverkeeper rejected the Delaware Riverkeeper Network’s (DRN) argument that FERC’s conditional approval of the Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC (Transco) Leidy Southeast Project (Leidy Project) violated the CWA's sequencing requirement.  The CWA prohibits federal agencies from authorizing any activity that “may... READ MORE
On April 28, 2017, President Donald J. Trump—flanked by Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski, Alaska Representative Donald Young, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, and others—signed an Executive Order (EO) intended to fundamentally revise federal offshore oil and gas policies. The EO, entitled “An America-First Offshore Energy Strategy,” constitutes a significant first step by the Trump Administration to follow through on the President’s campaign promise to “[o]pen . . . offshore leasing on federal lands,” which, in turn, was part of the President’s broader commitment that the United States “[b]ecome, and stay, totally independent of any need to import energy from the [Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries] or any nations hostile to our... 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 21st Annual Mid-C Seminar will cover a wide range of topics including the changing landscape in EIM, regulatory issues, REC's, physical trading, smart grid, and operational issues of changing resources. Van Ness Feldman's Malcolm McLellan will be giving a presentation entitled, "Transmission in the West Update." Van Ness Feldman is a proud sponsor of this year's seminar. Click here for more information and to register. READ MORE
“Development of Washington’s shorelines triggers overlapping and sometimes inconsistent local, state and federal regulations, as well as tribal treaty rights. Proponents of small private projects as well as large public facility projects in shoreline environments can be affected equally by these layers of regulation. Meanwhile, regulators and treaty tribes are tasked with balancing the many legitimate uses of the state’s shorelines and their abundant natural resources." Van Ness Feldman's Tadas Kisielius is speaking on, "Recent Developments in Port Management." Click here for more information. READ MORE
For the sixth year in a row, The Legal 500 United States, 2017, recognized Van Ness Feldman as a national leader in Energy Regulatory law. READ MORE
What does the Trump regulatory reform agenda mean for energy companies?  In an article co-authored with Sarah Ladislaw of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Van Ness Feldman partner Kyle Danish explains how companies are finding that the reform process is not quick or straightforward. Companies are coming to the realization that they will need to play the long game, and actively manage associated reputational and political risks. Read the full article, Playing the Long Game on Energy: Avoiding Pendulum Politics and Regulatory Risk. READ MORE
Washington, D.C. and Seattle – Van Ness Feldman received high praise in the newly released Chambers USA 2017 rankings, including national rankings for the firm’s major practice areas, including Electricity, Oil & Gas, Government Relations, Environmental, Native American, Transportation, Real Estate, and Land Use and Zoning practices.  Chambers USA similarly distinguished 17 Van Ness Feldman attorneys as “Leaders in Their Field.” Chambers & Partners is recognized as the legal industry’s preeminent guide to the legal profession and has built a reputation for in-depth, objective research.  Chambers conducts thousands of interviews with lawyers and their clients worldwide to identify and rank the world’s best lawyers according to the criteria most... READ MORE
PHMSA Partially Stays Enforcement of New Safety Standards for Underground Natural Gas Storage. On June 20, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Notice advising of a partial stay of enforcement of its interim final rule (IFR) adopting safety regulations for underground natural gas storage facilities.  The IFR requires that storage operators implement the mandatory and non-mandatory provisions of API Recommended Practices (RP) 1170 (Design and Operations of Solution-mined Salt Caverns used for Natural Gas Storage) and RP 1171 (Functional Integrity of Natural Gas Storage in Depleted Hydrocarbon Reservoirs and Aquifer Reservoirs).  In January 2017, several trade associations filed a petition for reconsideration of... READ MORE
FERC FERC To Hold Reliability Technical Conference On June 22 – FERC will hold a technical conference on policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System in Washington, DC on June 22.  There will be 4 different panels: Panel I: Overview on the State of Reliability Panel II: International Perspectives   Panel III: The Potential for Long-Term and Large-Scale Disruptions to the Bulk-Power System Panel IV: Grid Security The agenda can be found here.  Those attending are encouraged to preregister online.   NERC & FERC Issue a Joint Report on Restoration and Recovery Plans - June 9 – NERC and FERC issued a report on Planning Restoration Absent SCADA or Emergency Management Systems.  The report provides... READ MORE
NERC NERC Releases 2017 Summer Reliability Assessment - May 25 - NERC released its 2017 Summer Reliability Assessment, which reports on potential summer resources deficiencies and operating reliability concerns, determines peak electricity demand and supply changes, and highlights unique regional challenges.  The report found that most assessment areas have sufficient Anticipated Reserve Margins that meet or exceed their planned Reference Margin for the 2017 summer, although the Anticipated Reserve Margin for NPCC-New England falls below its Reference Margin level.  The report also notes that the absence of Aliso Canyon is not expected to have an impact on reliability during the upcoming summer season due to the anticipated abundance of... READ MORE