On June 2, the California Assembly passed a proposal to amend the state constitution and reduce the California Public Utilities Commission’s (“CPUC”) regulatory authority. Assembly Constitutional Amendment 11 (“ACA”), also referred to as the Public Utility Reform Act of 2016, was passed by the California Assembly by a 61-to-9 vote, and may ultimately be placed on the November 2016 ballot for consideration by California’s voters. If passed, the ACA would restructure the CPUC and reallocate many of the CPUC’s functions to other state agencies, departments, or boards. 
Continue Reading California Assembly Passes Constitutional Amendment to Restructure the California Public Utilities Commission

On May 14, 2014, the Interagency Infrastructure Steering Committee released its plan to address permitting for large-scale infrastructure, specifically electric and natural gas projects.  The Plan (titled “Implementation Plan for the Presidential Memorandum on Modernizing Infrastructure Permitting”) is designed to reduce the time needed to permit major projects by: (1) streamlining the permitting process at all levels of government; (2) reducing uncertainty in the application process; and (3) enabling hiring of more Federal agency staff.  The Plan is a result of the 2013 Presidential Memorandum directing the Steering Committee to develop an implementation plan for permitting reforms.
Continue Reading White House Announces Plans for Modernizing Infrastructure Permitting

On October 29, 2013, Jeff Wright, Director of FERC’s Office of Energy Projects, testified before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Power regarding H.R. 3301, the proposed North American Energy Infrastructure Act (“H.R. 3301”).  In part, H.R. 3301 requires that FERC approve new pipeline projects at the Canadian and Mexican borders within 120 days of receiving requests for approval, unless the project is not in the interest of national security, and that approval of such projects are not major federal actions under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”).
Continue Reading FERC Director of Energy Projects Testifies on the Proposed North American Energy Infrastructure Act

On July 9, 2013, FERC Commissioner Philip Moeller testified before the House Subcommittee on Energy and Power with regard to HR 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act (the “Act”).  Testifying in an individual capacity, Commissioner Moeller offered his personal views on the Act.
Continue Reading Commissioner Moeller Testifies before House Subcommittee on Pipeline Issues

On May 9, 2012, the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Energy and Power held a hearing on H.R. 4273: “Resolving Environmental and Grid Reliability Conflicts Act of 2012” and the “Hydropower Regulatory Efficiency Act of 2012.”  H.R. 4273 purports to resolve the conflict for an electric generator who may be asked by DOE to run for the sake of electric reliability, even though it may be unable to comply with the recent suite of EPA power plant regulations.
Continue Reading House Bill to Address Reliability Impacts of EPA Rules Divides EPA and FERC

On January 26, 2012, the House Agriculture Committee approved bills that would ease Commodities Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC”) regulation of swaps (i.e., over-the-counter derivatives) by energy companies under 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Swaps were never regulated by CFTC prior to Dodd-Frank.
Continue Reading House Ag Panel Approves Bills to Roll-Back CFTC Oversight of Energy Swaps

On January 3, 2012, President Obama signed the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011 (“Pipeline Safety Act” or the “Act”) into law.  This Act marks the culmination of bipartisan efforts in the House and the Senate to examine and improve the state of pipeline safety regulation. The Act gives enhanced safety review authority to the Department of Transportation (“DOT”).
Continue Reading President Obama Signs the Pipeline Safety, Regulatory Certainty and Job Creation Act of 2011

The House of Representatives on Friday passed H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation Act (“TRAIN Act”).  The Act establishes an interagency federal panel to assess the cumulative impact of various EPA regulations and requires that the panel issue its report by next August.  The bill prevents EPA from proceeding with its recently promulgated Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (“CSAPR”) and finalizing its proposed Mercury and Air Toxics Standards (“MATS”) rule.
Continue Reading House Passes Bill to Restrict EPA Power Sector Rules