On November 30, 2023, the Commission denied the Minnesota Municipal Power Agency’s (“MMPA”) complaint alleging that Northern Natural Gas Company (“Northern”) violated the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”) by refusing to execute an interconnection agreement for MMPA’s planned renewable natural gas (“RNG”) facility in Elk River, Minnesota (“Elk River Project”).  The Commission denied MMPA’s complaint without prejudice because the complaint was unripe since Northern has yet to act on MMPA’s interconnection request.Continue Reading FERC denies Muni Complaint on Proposed RNG Interconnection Request

In its May 26, 2023 opinion in Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (an article on the rest of the opinion regarding FERC’s environmental review of the Mountain Valley Pipeline can be found here), the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit addressed challenges to its jurisdiction to hear appeals of Commission rehearing orders when they are denied by operation of law and the Commission subsequently modifies the underlying order after said denial.Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Addresses Appeals of Rehearings Denied by Operation of Law

On May 26, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an opinion in Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission largely denying challenges to several FERC orders authorizing the resumption of construction of Mountain Valley Pipeline (“MVP”) but remanded, without vacatur, all but one of the orders on review insofar as FERC failed to adequately explain its decision not to prepare a supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for MVP. (See related article on the Court’s finding with regard to hearing appeals of FERC’s rehearing orders, here).Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Finds FERC Failed to Justify Not Preparing a Supplemental EIS for Mountain Valley Pipeline

A group of 17 states, through their Attorneys General (“State AGs”), filed a motion (“Motion”) on May 10, 2023, requesting that the Commission audit and investigate whether BlackRock is acting as an “activist” investor, thereby violating Section 203 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) and the Commission’s latest reauthorizations for BlackRock to acquire public utility securities. The Motion comes shortly after Commissioners Danly and Christie issued a joint statement regarding a different investment company, Vanguard Group, Inc. (“Vanguard”), questioning whether Vanguard’s “enormous accumulation” of utility assets may enable it to exercise “profound control” over those utilities.Continue Reading State Attorneys General Argue BlackRock is Violating its FERC Blanket Authorization

On May 16, 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) issued an opinion in Center for Biological Diversity v. Alaska Gasline Development Corporation, affirming FERC’s authorization for Alaska Gasline Development Corporation (“AGDC”) to construct and operate liquified natural gas (“LNG”) facilities in Alaska’s North Slope region (“Project”).Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Upholds FERC’s NEPA Review of Alaskan LNG Project

On remand from the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”), FERC reaffirmed that Rio Grande LNG, LLC’s proposed liquified natural gas (“LNG”) terminal project (“Rio Grande LNG Terminal”) was not inconsistent with the public interest, and that the Rio Bravo Pipeline Company, LLC’s proposed pipeline project (“Rio Bravo Pipeline Project”), as amended, was required by the public convenience and necessity. In doing so, FERC addressed a variety of highly-contested issues, including whether it must apply the social cost of carbon and expand its prior environmental justice analysis. Chairman Phillips concurred, and Commissioner Clements dissented from FERC’s decision.Continue Reading FERC Addresses Social Cost of Carbon and Environmental Justice Analysis on Remand

On March 16, 2023, FERC found that Commonwealth Edison Company’s (“ComEd”) formula rate protocols under the PJM Interconnection, L.L.C. (“PJM”) Open Access Transmission Tariff (“OATT”) appear to be unjust and unreasonable and therefore directed ComEd to show cause as to why its formula rate protocols are just and reasonable or explain what changes to its formula rate protocols would remedy FERC’s concerns relating to the scope of participation, transparency, and challenge procedures.Continue Reading FERC Institutes Show Cause Proceeding on ComEd’s Formula Rate Protocols

On September 16, 2022, a panel of three judges on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit”) issued a decision in United Power, Inc. v. FERC affirming FERC’s exclusive jurisdiction over exit fees charged by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. (“Tri-State”), a Colorado generation and transmission cooperative.Continue Reading D.C. Circuit Holds that FERC Has Exclusive Jurisdiction Over Exit Fees Charged by a Colorado Electric Cooperative

On June 30, 2022, in a 6-3 decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. writing for the majority, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in West Virginia v. EPA limiting the EPA’s ability to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. The Court’s decision could have significant implications for other executive branch agencies attempting to issue regulations that implicate “major questions.”
Continue Reading Supreme Court Decision in West Virginia v. EPA