Header graphic for print
Focus on Regulation

Category Archives: Energy

Subscribe to Energy RSS Feed

Secretary of the Interior’s Report on Landscape-Scale Mitigation Policy

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has released a Departmental report—including multiple “Near Term Policy Deliverables”—which responds to Secretarial Order No. 3330 (October 31, 2013).  In her Order, the Secretary challenged the Department and its constituent agencies, acting through its Energy and Climate Change Task Force, to “develop a coordinated Department-wide strategy to strengthen mitigation

FERC initiates rulemaking to align natural gas pipeline scheduling and RTO and ISO generation dispatch times and enhance flexibility of pipeline services

On 20 March 2014, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) issued a proposed rulemaking and two related orders designed to better align scheduling of gas flows with dispatch of electric generation and to improve flexibility associated with transportation of natural gas. The Commission’s actions come at an interesting time. As winter comes to a close,

NERC on Short Deadline to Develop Physical Protection Standards

On March 7, 2014 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order giving the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) 90 days to submit for approval reliability standards designed to increase physical protection of facilities that are critical to the reliability of the U.S. bulk power system. FERC also directs NERC to develop a

European Commission publishes minimum principles for shale gas exploration

On 22 January 2014, the European Commission (Commission) published a “Recommendation on minimum principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (such as shale gas) using high volume hydraulic fracturing” (Recommendation). The Recommendation sets out minimum core principles for the exploration and production of hydrocarbons (e.g., shale gas) using high-volume hydraulic fracturing. The Recommendation is

Murkowski paper on LNG & crude exports jump-starts debate

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Ranking Republican on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, last week released another of her “Energy 20/20” white papers entitled, “A Signal to the World: Renovating the Architecture of U.S. Energy Exports.” The paper reviews current federal energy export policies on everything from crude oil to nuclear power and comes at

Quadrennial energy review will shape domestic energy future

President Obama this month initiated an annual “Quadrennial Energy Review,” directing his Administration to create a four-year, cross-agency plan for the nation’s energy transportation, transmission, and delivery infrastructure. The QER, developed with input from a broad range of federal agencies, will set federal energy infrastructure priorities well beyond the Obama presidency.

Energy agencies have agreed to cooperate, but jurisdictional lines remain blurred

On 2 January 2014 the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) signed two memoranda of understanding (MOUs), as required by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The two MOUs provide guidelines for the two agencies to share information related to energy markets. The purpose of the

DOI Energy and Climate Task Force to Develop Mitigation Strategies for Projects on Federal Lands

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell’s first Secretarial Order, S. 3330, directs DOI’s Energy and Climate Task Force to prepare a comprehensive mitigation strategy for development projects on federal lands.  In a speech on October 31, Secretary Jewell first announced the new mitigation directive when she shared her vision of the Administration’s conservation agenda with

New IRS/Treasury guidance on the production tax credit for new nuclear facilities

On 24 October 2013 the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Treasury Department released an advance copy of Notice 2013-68, which updates previous interim guidance on the production tax credit for electricity generated at advanced nuclear power facilities. Notice 2013-68 will be published in the Internal Revenue Bulletin on 12 November 2013. The new guidance

DOE Approves Dominion LNG Export Application

Last week, the U.S. Department of Energy approved a permit application for Dominion Cove Point LNG to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to non-Free Trade Agreement (non-FTA) countries. Under the permit, Dominion Resources can export up to .77 billion cubic feet of LNG daily from its Cove Point terminal in the Chesapeake Bay.

Department of Energy issues revised proposed rulemaking regarding its nuclear export control regulations

On 2 August 2013 the Department of Energy (DOE) published a supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking (SNOPR) in the Federal Register (78 Fed. Reg. 48629) to amend the Part 810 Regulations (10 C.F.R. Part 810), which govern the export and re-export of unclassified nuclear technology and assistance. This latest notice proposes, with some changes, a rule that DOE originally proposed almost two years ago (76 Fed. Reg. 55278, 7 September 2011).

DOE Seeking Comment on Advanced Fossil Loan Program

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) requested comments on its draft solicitation for advanced fossil energy loan guarantee projects that significantly reduce greenhouse gas and other pollution emissions. This Advanced Fossil Energy Projects loan guarantee solicitation was authorized in Section 1703 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005, and DOE is moving

Hydraulic Fracturing on BLM-Administered Public and Indian Lands

On May 16, 2013, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released a Supplemental Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Request for Comment regarding hydraulic fracturing on BLM-administered public and Indian lands (Revised Proposed Rule). This Revised Proposed Rule was issued in response to comments on the initial draft Proposed Rule published on May 11, 2012 (Initial Proposed

EPA Comments on the Keystone NEPA Review—Monetizing the Social Costs of CO2 Emissions

On April 22, 2013, comments filed on the Keystone Pipeline draft supplemental environmental impact statement, EPA unveiled a new approach to evaluating climate change impacts under NEPA—monetizing social costs of CO2. In those comments, EPA’s Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance recommended that the State Department use “monetized estimates of the social cost of

IRS issues favorable guidance on tax credits for wind and other renewable electric generation developers

The Internal Revenue Service has issued highly anticipated guidance in the form of Notice 2013-29, providing guidelines and a safe harbor to determine when the owner of a renewable electricity generation facility (wind, biomass, or other renewable generation sources) is considered to have “begun construction” on any such facility by the end of 2013, making

Senate Energy Committee Schedules Forums on Natural Gas

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee has announced it will hold a series of roundtable forums on natural gas issues in May. Each of the three forums, which follow a February Committee hearing on natural gas challenges and opportunities, will focus on specific policy issues facing the country’s growing natural gas resources.

Shale gas exploration: European Commission launches stakeholder Consultation

The European Commission is completing a Consultation on the need for additional regulation of unconventional fossil fuel (e.g., shale gas) exploration and development in Europe. The Consultation period ends on 23 March 2013 and results will be made available on the Commission’s website and at a stakeholders’ meeting to be held by the Commission in

DOE, EPA, OMB Nominees Announced

Earlier today, President Obama announced the nomination of three cabinet-level appointments to his Administration: Ernest Moniz as Secretary of Energy; Gina McCarthy as Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; and Sylvia Matthews Burwell as Director of the Office of Management and Budget.

Sally Jewell Nominated for Interior Secretary

In a move that surprised many, President Obama has nominated REI chief executive Sally Jewell to replace Ken Salazar as the next Secretary of the Department of Interior. Salazar announced in January that he would be stepping down by the end of March. Jewell is an engineer by trade, and has previously worked in both

Senate Energy Committee to Hold Major Hearing on Natural Gas

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) has scheduled a full committee hearing on February 12 entitled, “Opportunities and Challenges for Natural Gas.” The hearing will be held at 10:00 am in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. This hearing comes at a pivotal time for the U.S. natural gas