On August 18, 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a package of proposed rules aimed at limiting emissions of methane and other pollutants from sources in the oil and gas sector.  The proposals are the latest actions under a comprehensive methane strategy for the sector released by the White House in January of this year.  The White House’s goal is to reduce methane emissions from the sector by 40-45 percent from 2012 levels by 2025.  As explained below, the August 18 package mostly targets new and modified sources in the sector.  However, the agency has proposed various mechanisms that would extend federal and state regulation to some existing sources.  In addition, EPA is supplementing these regulatory proposals with a new... READ MORE
On August 14, 2015, the Obama Administration announced that it would approve a number of crude oil “swaps” with Mexico. Pursuant to this approval, Mexico’s state-owned oil company, Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), will be able to exchange its heavy Maya crude for lighter U.S. crude and condensate, a move previously prohibited under the forty-year-old U.S. crude oil export ban. Although this is not the first oil swap to be approved with Mexico, this most recent approval comes as calls to repeal the crude oil export ban have grown increasingly louder in the past year, with steady pressure coming from both Congress and outside entities. When the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) approved certain exports of lease condensate last... READ MORE
An Apples-to-Apples Comparison of Mass-Based State Emission Goals under the Proposed and Final Versions of the Clean Power Plan Rule As we outlined last week, comparing the rate-based goals presented by EPA in its proposed Clean Power Plan with those presented in the final Clean Power Plan could lead to a misleading conclusion about the relative stringency of those goals.  It turns out that a similar hazard awaits those seeking to compare the mass-based goals.  In both the proposed and final Clean Power Plan rules, EPA gave each state the option to use a mass-based emission limit instead of its rate-based goal.  How did states fare between the proposed and final Clean Power Plan with regard to mass-based goals?  As with rate-based goals, a... READ MORE
AGA's FERC Regulatory Committee will present the 8th Annual Energy Market Regulation Conference on Thursday October 8, 2015, at the Marriott Albuquerque Pyramid North in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The conference will focus on regulatory compliance issues and is designed to provide compliance training to attendees. Join Rich Bonnifield, Jim Curry, and Paul Korman, as they speak on various topics effecting the energy market today. For more information and to register, please visit the American Gas Association's website. READ MORE
The long-anticipated days of infrastructure need in the Northeast have arrived, presenting new challenges to power grid operators, market participants, and state and federal regulators and policy makers. The Northeast region is hotly debating what changes are needed to the wholesale power markets, the infrastructure and regulation, to assure the needs of the region are satisfied on terms that consumers can accept.   Come join in discussions with the head of Van Ness Feldman's electric practice, Doug Smith, who will review recent and planned developments in the energy infrastructure, markets, and law and regulation, at the 12th annual comprehensive conference on Energy in the Northeast.   This two-day conference again will be capped with... READ MORE
Join Jim Curry, Keith Coyle, and Susan Olenchuk at Shale Insight 2015, where they will be a featured panelist speaking on challenges and opportunities for the development of natural gas pipelines. Marcellus Shale Coalition's Shale Insight conference is one of the largest conferences dealing with shale development in the country.   Attendees will network with the most influential industry executives and innovative thought leaders through two days of technical and public affairs insight sessions, major keynote addresses, and a dynamic exhibit hall featuring all the major shale players. For more information, please click here. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman congratulates the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) on the acquisition of the Kerr Project, a 194 MW hydro project located on Flathead Lake in Montana.  When the acquisition is complete on Sept 5, 2015, the CSKT become the first tribe in the nation to wholly own and operate a major hydropower facility. This historic milestone has been over 30 years in the making.  The Kerr Project acquisition is occurring pursuant to a 1985 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission licensing order which provided that CSKT could acquire the Project thirty years into the fifty year license term.   Since the 1985 licensing order, CSKT and Energy Keepers Incorporated (EKI), a tribally owned corporation, have tirelessly worked to prepare for... READ MORE
Washington, D.C. and Seattle– Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that this year over a third of the firm’s lawyers have been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2016 (Copyright 2015 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.).  This year’s honorees are ranked in the following practice areas: Energy, Energy-Regulatory, Environmental, Government Relations, Land Use and Zoning Law, Litigation - Environmental, Litigation – Land Use and Zoning, Litigation – Real Estate, Native American, Natural Resources, Oil and Gas, Real Estate, Transportation, and Water Law.    Best Lawyers has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence utilizing an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 41,000 leading... READ MORE
Executive Legal Assistant Mark Henderson, a military veteran who served in the Army as an airborne field artillery specialist, was featured in a recent Washington Post article about the Warrior Scholar Project, a non-profit that aims to help veterans transition from the military to college.  Mr. Henderson, 24, who helps support the firm’s public policy practice, will be attending Georgetown University in the fall, and hopes to now bring his military work ethic to the classroom. “I’m well aware that I may not be as brilliant as the 18-year-olds, but I can guarantee I’m not going to be outworked,” Mark tells the Washington Post.     To read the entire Washington Post article, please visit their website here. READ MORE