FERC Halts Controversial Pipeline Infrastructure Policy Statements
Following a March 3, 2022 grilling of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Commissioners by members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources relating to several of the agency’s recent policy pronouncements relating to the permitting, construction and operation of interstate natural gas pipelines and other natural gas infrastructure projects, the agency yesterday decided to take a step back, solicit further public input, and issue revised policy statements in the future.
The implicated issuances are FERC’s Updated Policy on Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities in Docket No. PL18-1 and its Interim Policy regarding the Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Natural Gas Infrastructure Project Reviews in Docket No. PL21-3 both released on February 18, 2022 (see our recent blog post for most information).
FERC now will consider both of these “draft” versus effective documents and will entertain additional comments by interested parties. Further initial comments are solicited by April 25 and further reply comments are solicited by May 25, and will be considered before the agency takes further action. The importance of stakeholder comments to reaching a reasoned outcome was stressed during the Commissioners’ discussion of yesterday’s action.
FERC indicated that one feature of its February policy proposals that would not survive as they move to their final form is their purported application to pending projects. FERC was subjected to particularly harsh criticism over the retroactive application of its policy in the Congressional hearing.
FERC will attempt to achieve a greater level of consensus among its Commissioners internally before taking further action.
© Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP 2022 All Rights Reserved. This blog post is intended to be a general summary of the law and does not constitute legal advice. You should consult with counsel to determine applicable legal requirements in a specific fact situation.