Pipeline Law

Pipeline Law

Tag Archives: FERC

D.C. Circuit Raises the Stakes: NEPA Defect Sufficient to Halt Pipeline Operations

Posted in Environmental, Judicial/ Administrative Decisions, Natural Gas
Federal agencies that authorize or permit large infrastructure projects, like interstate natural gas pipelines, are often subject to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act, and environmental organizations frequently rely on NEPA to challenge a project. The D.C. Circuit recently struck down a decision by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to approve the construction and operation of three interstate natural gas pipelines because the Court found defects in FERC’s NEPA analysis. The court’s decision to vacate FERC’s authorization now threatens to shut down the pipelines, including the Sabal Trail pipeline currently supplying natural gas to newly constructed power plants in Florida.… Continue Reading

Virginia District Court Requires Pipeline Company to Obtain Appraisals Before Granting Preliminary Injunctions For Prejudgment Possession of Land

Posted in Judicial/ Administrative Decisions
On January 31, 2018, in proceedings to condemn easements for the Mountain Valley Pipeline project, the US District Court for the Western District of Virginia ruled that the pipeline company’s preliminary injunction motions for pretrial possession of the easements would be granted only if it appraised each of the nearly 300 properties at issue.… Continue Reading

FERC Rules on State Waiver of Section 401 Water Quality Certification

Posted in Administrative Guidance
On January 11, 2018, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied Constitution Pipeline Company, LLC’s Petition for a Declaratory Order that New York had waived its ability to act under section 401 of the Clean Water Act (CWA) by failing to grant or deny Constitution’s application for a section 401 certification within a “reasonable period of time.”… Continue Reading

FERC to Review Natural Gas Pipeline Certification Policies in the New Year

Posted in Construction & Design, Natural Gas, Policy
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) announced last month that it will review its policies governing the certification process for natural gas pipelines. The announcement was made by FERC Chairman Kevin J. McIntyre on December 21, 2017, in fulfillment of a pledge that he made during his Senate confirmation hearing in September… Continue Reading

Recently Confirmed FERC and PHMSA Leaders Push Forward Pipeline Projects and Bring Renewed Focus to Pipeline Safety

Posted in Natural Gas, PHMSA, Policy
Recent months have seen the appointment and confirmation of top posts in key pipeline regulatory agencies, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA). While developments are generally good news for the pipeline industry—in that they are likely to mean expeditious project approvals and a clear chain of command at the agencies—the past few weeks have seen interesting departures from past practices, as discussed in more detail below.… Continue Reading

FERC: Water Quality Certification Waiver Period for Pipeline Projects Begins Upon Receipt of a Written Request for Certification

Posted in Environmental, Judicial/ Administrative Decisions, Natural Gas
On September 15, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or the Commission) issued an order in which it concluded that delays by the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC or the Department) in processing Millennium Pipeline Company’s application for Clean Water Act (CWA) water quality certification constituted a waiver of the certification requirement. … Continue Reading

House Bill Reflects Ongoing Resistance to New Pipeline Construction

Posted in Construction & Design, Environmental, Federal/ State Legislation, Natural Gas, Policy
Recently proposed legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives would require FERC to revise its review process for proposed natural gas pipeline expansion projects to include additional analysis of cumulative impacts in a single region or State and extended environmental monitoring.  While this bill is unlikely to gain traction in the Republican-controlled House, it is indicative… Continue Reading

Draft Revisions to FERC Environmental Report Manual Available for Comment

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Construction & Design, Environmental, Policy
FERC recently published a revised draft Guidance Manual for Environmental Report Preparation for review and public comment. The revised Guidance Manual updates FERC’s 2002 guidance manual on environmental report preparation for projects seeking FERC authorization under the Natural Gas Act (NGA), supplementing the previous guidance as well as adding new sections explaining requirements for environmental report preparation. … Continue Reading

Anticipated Increases in Pipeline Regulatory Compliance Costs Prompt FERC Proposed Policy

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Environmental, PHMSA, Policy
In light of anticipated increases in operator compliance costs associated with PHMSA safety initiatives, FERC is issuing a Proposed Policy Statement for public comment that would allow interstate natural gas pipelines to use cost recovery mechanisms, such as surcharges or cost trackers, to recoup expenditures related to improved safety, reliability, and regulatory compliance.… Continue Reading

Pipeline Abandonment: Safety and Supply Concerns at the Heart of Recent Developments

Posted in Practice Pointers
Recent legislative and regulatory developments at the federal and state levels signal lawmakers’ increased attention to issues related to the abandonment of oil and gas pipelines.  The U.S. House of Representatives is currently considering a bill, proposed earlier this year in the wake of a release of crude oil in the streets of a Los Angeles… Continue Reading

Lawmakers Urge Mandatory Security Measures to Protect the Power Grid

Posted in Administrative Guidance, Infrastructure Security
In the wake of an attack last year on an electric substation in California, four U.S. Senators have written a letter to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the North American Electric Reliability Corporation, urging them to adopt mandatory standards for physical security at electric power facilities. … Continue Reading

Changing U.S. Energy Markets Prompt Increased Pipeline Flow Reversals and Conversions

Posted in Construction & Design, Operation & Maintenance, Policy
The changing U.S. energy market continues to have a dramatic effect on the construction and operation of oil and gas pipeline infrastructure. One of the largest new pipeline construction projects in the past several decades – the nearly 1,700 mile Rockies Express gas pipeline between Wyoming and Ohio (REX) – began operation in 2009, with a west to east direction of flow.… Continue Reading

House Votes on Two New Pieces of Proposed Pipeline Legislation

Posted in Construction & Design, Environmental, Federal/ State Legislation, Policy
Two bills aimed at expediting pipeline construction permitting and, in turn, U.S. energy production are moving through the House of Representatives, but face opposition in the Senate and the White House. The Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Reform Act passed the House of Representatives by a large majority on Thursday, November 21, 2013.… Continue Reading

Expedited Permitting Bill Introduced in House

Posted in Construction & Design, Environmental, Federal/ State Legislation
Representative Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) introduced HR 1900, to provide for timely consideration of licenses, permits, and approvals with respect to the siting, construction, expansion, or operation of any natural gas pipeline projects. The bill would amend the Natural Gas Act by requiring FERC to approve or deny a certificate of public convenience or necessity no… Continue Reading

GAO Issues Report on Natural Gas Permitting Processes

Posted in Construction & Design, PHMSA, Pipeline Safety Act
In response to the PSA amendments of 2011, GAO reviewed permitting processes for both interstate and intrastate natural gas pipeline projects given the recent increase in pipelines needed to manage the growth in domestic natural gas production.  While the report does not make any particular recommendations, it does examine the various permit processes necessary to… Continue Reading

INGAA Releases Study Finding Increased Delays in Non-FERC Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting

Posted in Construction & Design, Federal/ State Legislation, PHMSA, Policy
Despite the goal of the 2005 Energy Policy Act’s (EPAct) to streamline and expedite permitting for natural gas pipeline construction projects, a recent study funded by INGAA found that non-FERC agencies have experienced increased delays in permitting projects. The percentage of federal authorizations issued more than 90 days beyond FERC’s issuance of its final NEPA… Continue Reading

Second Circuit denies stay of construction of pipeline

Posted in Construction & Design, Environmental, Judicial/ Administrative Decisions
On February 28, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit lifted an emergency temporary stay of construction activity the court had granted a week earlier on a proposed interstate pipeline and related pipeline facilities in Pennsylvania, serving the Marcellus Shale. The court initially stayed construction pending review of a petition brought by… Continue Reading

Second Circuit stays pipeline construction for failure to examine environmental impacts of Marcellus drilling

Posted in Construction & Design, Environmental, Judicial/ Administrative Decisions
In what could be a significant precedential decision, on February 17, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted an emergency temporary stay of construction activity on a proposed interstate pipeline and related pipeline facilities in Pennsylvania, serving the Marcellus Shale. Under review is a petition brought by the Sierra Club and… Continue Reading

House introduces North American Energy Access Act

Posted in Construction & Design, Federal/ State Legislation, Policy
Republican Congressman Lee Terry of Nebraska introduced HR 3548. that would, among other things, transfer to the decision to review the Keystone XL project to FERC. In addition, FERC would be required to make a decision approving or denying the project within 30 days based on the Final EIS issued in August of 2011. FERC… Continue Reading