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FERC, CFTC, and State Energy Law Developments
FERC has issued an order extending the blanket waivers of all requirements to hold meetings in person and/or to provide or obtain notarized documents in open-access transmission tariffs through January 29, 2021.
Following the declaration of a global pandemic due to the widespread transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19), the issuance of shutdown and/or stay-at-home directives cascaded from commercial enterprises and state and local governments across the United States. During this period of extreme disruption to daily routine, the continuity and integrity of energy operations were necessary to ensure that the massive shift to home-based life could exist with minimal business disruption.
FERC issued a proposal on May 21 to modify its policy regarding requests for waiver of public utility tariff provisions that are subject to FERC’s review and approval under the Federal Power Act and the Natural Gas Act.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a notice on May 20 that it will convene a Commissioner-led technical conference to consider the ongoing, serious impacts that the emergency conditions caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic are having on the energy industry. The conference will be free, open to the public, and held remotely on Wednesday and Thursday, July 8-9, 2020.
In response to President Donald Trump’s declaration of a national emergency due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a notice that it does not intend to take enforcement action related to certain new gas pipeline safety regulations with which gas pipeline operators must comply by July 1, 2020.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) indicated on April 24 that it is conducting a review of the $40-per-barrel plunge in the WTI crude price that occurred on April 20. The CFTC stated that it is conducting the review to understand why the pricing happened, to ensure that the market functioned properly, and to rule out foul play.
The US Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) issued Version 3.0 of its guidance on April 17 on identifying essential critical infrastructure workers amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
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.
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.
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.