Energy & Utilities Administrative Agency

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Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda - December 2014

In This Issue: - Administrative Items - Electric Items - Gas Items - Hydro Item - Certificate Items - Excerpt from Electric Items: E-2: PJM Interconnection, L.L.C.; Midcontinent Independent...more

FERC rules tribes exempt from some energy regulation

When a Native American tribe acquires a hydroelectric power plant licensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, does the project become exempt from some federal regulations? Yes, according to a FERC order...more

Illinois Supreme Court Agrees to Decide FutureGen Clean Coal Dispute

In the closing days of its November term, the Illinois Supreme Court agreed to decide an issue of potentially enormous consequence to a major Illinois utility, agreeing to review an order of the Illinois Commerce Commission...more

Fifth District Rejects CEQA Challenge to Fresno County Aggregate Mine Project EIR In Partially Published Decision, Clarifies State...

In a lengthy, 65-page opinion filed December 8, 2014 (of which fully two-thirds was unpublished), the Fifth District Court of Appeal affirmed the Fresno County Superior Court’s judgment upholding the EIR, Conditional Use...more

FERC Will Seek Supreme Court Review of the Decision Striking Down Order 745

Last Friday, FERC sought a further stay of the decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals striking down FERC Order 745. Whereas the United States had previously only indicated that it was considering filing a cert....more

Getting to the Nitty-Gritty: Wholesale Distribution Rate Treatment for Energy Storage

As an increasing number of energy storage projects begin to come online, developers should expect that regulators will continue to develop and refine the second tier, nitty-gritty, regulatory policies that might affect the...more

Swing, Pendulum, Swing: California's Historic Drought and Unprecedented Responses

Most know by now that California is facing one of its driest years in recorded history. Yet droughts are not new to California, and to put things in context we can be thankful that current drought conditions are only as bad...more

DOT Denies Request to Prohibit Shipment of Bakken Crude Oil on Older Tank Cars; Environmental Groups Push Battle to Courtroom

On December 2, 2014 following the Department of Transportation’s (“DOT”) November 7, 2014 denial of their request for an immediate ban on use of older DOT-111 or CTC-111 railcars for the shipment of crude oil from the Bakken...more

CalPERS’ Commitment to Infrastructure (Real Assets Annual Program Review, November 2014)

On November 17, 2014, the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS), the largest U.S. public pension fund with approximately $300 billion in assets, conducted its annual real assets program review. CalPERS’...more

EPA Proposes Stricter Ozone NAAQS

On November 25, 2014, EPA proposed to strengthen the National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS) for ground-level ozone. The rule is available online and should be published soon in the Federal Register....more

EPA Does Not Have a Nondiscretionary Duty to Revise PSD Regulations When It Amends a NAAQS

On Monday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that EPA does not have an obligation to amend PSD regulations for a criteria pollutant within two years of revising the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for that...more

Current Water Utility CCN Decertification Issues At The Public Utility Commission Of Texas

The responsibility for the regulation of water and sewer service, including the oversight of certificates of public convenience and necessity (“CCNs”), was recently transferred from the Texas Commission on Environmental...more

5th Circuit Denies Louisiana Public Service Commission’s Petition for Review of FERC’s Entergy Bandwidth Implementation Orders

On November 14, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit denied the Louisiana Public Service Commission’s (LPSC) petition for review of various Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) orders on the...more

EPA Finally Proposes a Revised Ozone Standard, Sort Of

Yesterday, EPA finally proposed a revised ambient air quality standard for ozone – except that the agency is still hedging its bets. The Clean Air Science Advisory Committee had previously supported a revised ozone NAAQS of...more

The Sunset Will Last A Little Longer — UST Fund Extended

On September 25, 2014, Governor Brown signed SB 445 (Hill) Underground storage tanks; hazardous substances: petroleum: groundwater and surface water contamination into law (UST Law). The UST Law was an urgency measure that...more

Illinois Supreme Court Reinstates Attorney General's Appeal from Illinois Commerce Commission Order

On Thursday morning, the Illinois Supreme Court resolved a confused issue in utilities law, holding unanimously in The People of the State of Illinois ex rel. Madigan v. Illinois Commerce Commission that the 35-day period...more

Recent Regulations Prompt Revamped FERC Pipeline Cost-Recovery Policy

FERC proposes to establish a framework that allows pipelines to use surcharge or tracker cost-recovery mechanisms to accelerate system improvements associated with new safety and environmental compliance regulations....more

Wotus: Scotus, Potus . . . Lotus?

It was inevitable I suppose. In a town where every policy discussion reaffirms the lampooning it receives in HBO’s “Veep,” it was only a matter of time until the EPA/Army Corps’ proposed rule on the scope of jurisdiction...more

Sixth Circuit Dismisses Whistleblower’s Claims Made By Job Applicant

This week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that a job applicant lacks standing to bring whistle-blower claims under the Energy Reorganization Act and the False Claims Act (“FCA”) because those laws’...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Scope of Whistleblower Statute

During the September term, the Illinois Supreme Court debated an important question about the scope of the state Whistleblower Act: does a plaintiff state a claim under the statute by alleging that the defendant falsified...more

Illinois Supreme Court Debates Revenue Decoupling in Utility Ratemaking

During its September term, the Illinois Supreme Court debated an issue of considerable importance to the State’s utilities. People ex rel. Madigan v. Illinois Commerce Commission is a challenge brought by the Attorney General...more

Massachusetts Climate Adaptation Policy: How Broad Will It Be?

Yesterday, I suggested that Massachusetts EOEEA may not have authority to issue its “MEPA Climate Change Adaptation and Resiliency Policy.” However, since I also conceded that Massachusetts courts are unlikely to agree with...more

Summary of FERC Meeting Agenda - November 2014

In This Issue: - Administrative Items - Electric Items - Gas Items - Hydro Items - Excerpt from Hydro Items: H-1: Hydraco Power, Inc. and Warren David Long (Docket No. P-12588-010) - On...more

Supreme Court Asked to Allow Immediate Judicial Review of Clean Water Act Jurisdictional Determinations

A landfill developer has asked the Supreme Court to review a decision of the Fifth Circuit holding that a jurisdictional determination by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is not final agency action subject to judicial review....more

Setting fees for use of federal dams

Federally owned dams and other structures can create opportunities for private development of hydropower facilities, in exchange for a fee. While fees charged to hydropower developers for using federally owned dams will...more

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