Capital Thinking: Energy



Upcoming Hearings:

  • Tuesday, September 10: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled “Implementing the Nuclear Waste Policy Act – Next Steps.” The hearing will be convened by the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.
  • Wednesday, September 18: The House Energy and Commerce Committee will hold a hearing titled “The Obama Administration’s Climate Change Policies.”  The hearing will be convened by the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, and feature testimony by senior leaders from as many as 13 agencies.
  • The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources may hold a hearing within the next two weeks regarding President Barack Obama’s nomination of Mr. Ron Binz to chair the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.  Mr. Binz is the former chair of the Colorado Public Utility Commission.

Regulatory Activity

FERC Announces 2014 Open Meeting Schedule

Last Tuesday, September 3, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) released the 2014 dates for open Commission meetings.  The schedule can be found here.

NRC Announces Nuclear Waste NPRM Publication Date And Hearings

Last Thursday, September 5, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) announced that it will publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) regarding storage of spent nuclear fuel at closed reactor sites, and a supporting environmental study supporting the NPRM, on Friday, September 13.  The Commission is planning to establish a 75-day public comment period for the proposal that will terminate on November 27, and in addition, will hold 12 meetings across the country to receive public comment on the proposed rule.  A complete schedule for the field hearings can be found here.

Yucca Mountain Court Order

Last Tuesday, September 3, a court order forcing the NRC to renew its safety review of the Yucca Mountain project went into effect which will force the NRC to complete the review process.  The court order was issued by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which ruled in August that the NRC could not ignore a federal law requiring the review to take place. The NRC may elect to ask the full Court of Appeals to rehear the case, or it may elect to pursue an appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court.

SEC Elects Not To Appeal Dodd-Frank Ruling

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) elected not to appeal a ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July which vacated a rule requiring publicly listed energy companies to disclose payments made to other governments connected to oil, gas, and mineral development. Through a spokesman, the agency said that

“the court remanded the matter for further SEC proceedings, which the commission will undertake informed by the court’s decision.”

Upcoming Deadlines And Events:

  • Thursday, September 19: The FERC will hold an open meeting.
  • Monday, September 30: The NRC is accepting public input on how the Commission should “restart the Yucca Mountain licensing process,” and has set a deadline of September 30 for submission of comments.  The Commission’s decision results from a court order received from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on August 13 that went into effect on Tuesday, September 3.
  • Wednesday, October 2: The FERC will convene a workshop to investigate the feasibility of a two-year license issuing process for hydropower development at non-powered dams and closed-loop pumped storage projects.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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