In the wake of the Trump Administration’s withdrawal from the Paris Agreement, a number of governors and mayors have pledged to come forward with ambitious climate policies and programs.  California Governor Jerry Brown has been the drum major at the head of this parade of subnational climate warriors.  On July 17, he scored a significant victory when the California legislature extended the state’s flagship multi-sector greenhouse gas (GHG) cap-and-trade program through 2030.  The bill extending the program garnered two-thirds majorities in both the Senate and the Assembly, which reinforces the legal and political foundation for cap-and-trade in California.  The program is now a primary means of meeting the state’s ambitious 2030 emission limit... READ MORE
On June 27, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers (“Agencies”) unveiled a proposed rule that would rescind the definition of the term “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), commonly referred to as the “WOTUS Rule.”  The WOTUS Rule, which defines the scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA, was adopted by the Agencies under the Obama Administration in a 2015 rule titled “Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” (80 Fed. Reg. 27054, June 29, 2015).   As explained in previous alerts circulated in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017, the “WOTUS” rule has far-reaching implications for project developers across the energy, water, agricultural, construction, and... READ MORE
On July 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (“D.C. Circuit” or “court”) issued a decision in NRG Power Marketing, LLC v. FERC (“NRG decision”), finding that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) exceeded its authority under Section 205 of the Federal Power Act (“FPA”) when it directed certain revisions to the PJM Interconnection LLC (“PJM”) capacity market buyer mitigation rules.  The decision’s legal analysis highlights limitations on FERC’s ability to direct changes on compliance to proposed rates submitted by a utility or market operator.  From a practical standpoint, the decision vacating and remanding significant components of FERC’s underlying orders creates significant uncertainty... 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
Van Ness Feldman LLP is pleased to announce that Nancy Macan McNally has been appointed Managing Principal of the Washington, DC Office.  READ MORE
Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, former Chief of Staff to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, will be joining the firm as a partner in Washington, DC. 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
Culvert Treaty Fishing Rights Litigation: While the Ninth Circuit Denies Rehearing; Does the Dissent Provide Passage to the Supreme Court? Recently, a divided Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the State of Washington’s (“State”) petitions for rehearing of its prior order upholding an injunction requiring the State to remove or repair State-owned culverts blocking salmon passage to spawning habitat as violative of Tribal Treaty fishing rights. In a strongly worded dissent, nine judges criticized the denial of rehearing en banc, and faulted the panel for relying upon a “heretofore unknown duty” in the Stevens Treaties to impose an obligation to create additional salmon habitat at a significant and purportedly unjustified cost. While it is... READ MORE
PHMSA Extends Deadline for Submitting 2016 Annual Reports for Underground Natural Gas Storage Facilities On July 14, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) announced an extension of the deadline for operators of underground natural gas storage facilities to submit annual reports for calendar year 2016.  PHMSA established the reporting requirement in its interim final rule adopting safety regulations for such storage facilities, and required that the first annual report be submitted July 18, 2017.  PHMSA is extending the deadline because the Office of Management and Budget has not approved PHMSA’s request to collect the information from storage operators.  PHMSA will establish a new filing date after OMB approves PHMSA’s... READ MORE
FERC FERC and NERC Issue Review of Compliance Programs - June 27 - FERC coordinated with NERC staff to conduct the annual oversight of the Find, Fix, Track, and Report (FFT) program.  FERC staff reviewed 23 out of 46 FFT possible violations, as well as 100 out of 470 Compliance Exception (CE) instances of noncompliance posted by NERC between October 2015 and September 2016.  FERC staff concluded that the FFT and CE programs are meeting expectations and that all possible violations have been remediated. Materials from June 22 Technical Conference Now Available - June 23 - As follow up from the Reliability Technical Conference that took place at FERC on Thursday, June 22, the conference’s final agenda and speaker presentation materials have been... READ MORE