FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments

Although the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act signed into law on March 27  does not expressly provide relief for energy companies, many of its provisions impact energy sector companies. Read our recent LawFlash to learn more.

The US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), revised on March 28, 2020, guidance it had previously provided to capture a broader array of workers, particularly in the energy sector. For workers who are considered essential, energy companies should consider issuing supporting paperwork for these claims.

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In response to the US president’s declaration of a national emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, on March 20 the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a notice to operators stating that, effective immediately and until further notice or modification, PHMSA does not intend to take any enforcement action with respect to operator qualification (OQ) and control room management (CRM) requirements, and will consider exercising enforcement discretion regarding certain drug testing requirements.

Our colleagues have prepared a LawFlash addressing the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s March 25 extension of certain filing periods and current views regarding disclosure considerations due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. 

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Read our recent LawFlash regarding current modifications to enable state and local agencies in California to continue making decisions during the pandemic, while preserving opportunities for public involvement by teleconference or electronic means.

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An upcoming webinar on March 27 discussing the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on shareholder activism, global financial markets, and market capitalizations may interest our energy clients. 

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Read our recent LawFlash detailing the criteria for essential critical infrastructure workers in the electricity, petroleum, and natural gas and propane industries, including the vendors and service providers to the energy industry, and consider whether to provide letters or notices identifying key personnel as essential critical infrastructure workers.

Read the LawFlash prepared by our insurance litigation colleagues discussing business interruption coverage and the steps you may want to take to protect your insurance assets, which may help mitigate financial losses due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Functioning critical infrastructure is crucial during the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency for public health and safety reasons. And as noted in the Coronavirus Guidelines for America issued on March 16, US President Donald Trump has recommended that workers in critical infrastructure industries have a “special responsibility” to maintain normal work schedules. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 19 issued guidance on defining the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce. That guidance explicitly discusses workers in the nuclear and electric industries.

Commission Chairman Neil Chatterjee held a press conference on March 19 to discuss FERC’s work during the current pandemic, provide updates regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), and respond to questions from the media. According to today’s announcements, FERC plans to keep operating as usual but will provide extensive flexibility to the regulated industry in addressing the effects of the pandemic on FERC-jurisdictional activities.