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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
A natural gas trader pleaded guilty in federal district court last week to conspiring to commit commodities fraud and wire fraud in an insider trading scheme over natural gas futures. His co-conspirator had pleaded guilty last July to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate various provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) anti-manipulation rule.
In May 2020, US President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13920, banning the unrestricted import or use of certain categories of bulk-power system electric equipment from foreign adversaries, with a focus on Russian and Chinese equipment suppliers. The future of that regulation is now up in the air.
The US Supreme Court granted certification on February 3 to review the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit’s decision in In re PennEast Pipeline Co. in order to resolve an important question: Does the Natural Gas Act (NGA) delegate authority to exercise the federal government’s eminent domain power to condemn land in which a state claims an interest when FERC grants a certificate of public convenience and necessity for an interstate pipeline project?
Our colleagues in the tax practice recently prepared a LawFlash examining the final regulation on the Section 45Q carbon capture tax credit issued by the US Department of the Treasury and Internal Revenue Service. We discussed the draft regulations in an earlier LawFlash, which also provides background on the Section 45Q credit. Because the final rule was published and took effect before the inauguration of President Joe Biden, the regulation is not subject to the regulatory freeze issued by the new administration.
During its January open meeting, FERC issued an order directing independent system operators (ISOs) and regional transmission organizations (RTOs) to submit informational reports regarding co-located generation resources. The order focuses on so-called “hybrid resources,” which is a term that refers generally to sets of co-located resources sharing a single point of interconnection that can be separately dispatchable or modeled and dispatched as a single integrated resource. The forthcoming reports could shed light on the manner in which hybrid resources are, or could be, participating in wholesale markets as well as the hurdles to such participation.
A LawFlash prepared by our energy team discusses the executive orders issued by President Joe Biden on January 27 to confront the “existential threat” of climate change.
It’s been a difficult several days for the oil industry. First, the Biden administration revoked the border-crossing permit for the Keystone XL pipeline on January 20. Another executive order, among other things, directed the secretary of the US Department of the Interior to pause oil and natural gas leases on public lands and offshore waters pending a review of leasing practices.
Our colleagues in the environmental practice explain the DC Circuit’s recent decision vacating the Environmental Protection Agency’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule and discuss the implications for the Clean Power Plan.
A LawFlash from our energy team explains the hurdles that new natural gas infrastructure projects will face and FERC’s likely analysis when considering whether to approve a proposed project.
In an expected move, President Joe Biden has designated Commissioner Richard Glick as the new FERC Chairman. Chairman Glick takes over from Commissioner James Danly, whose term as Chairman lasted less than three months.