I.          Introduction Recent developments in automated vehicle technologies have generated great excitement from multiple segments of American society, including the automotive and trucking industries, federal, state, and local government, and the general public. The development of “self-driving” or “automated driving systems” (ADS) has the potential to drastically alter the way our society perceives a broad range of concepts—from transportation and mobility to infrastructure to urban spaces to human-machine interaction. Although automated vehicle technology is still at a fairly nascent stage of deployment, the underlying technology is rapidly developing. In response, federal, state and local governments have already undertaken efforts to... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman’s Natural Disaster Recovery Team is already engaged in Congressional activity related to Hurricane Harvey. Our seasoned team actively participates in federal and state disaster relief legislation and has worked extensively on the economic recovery packages that were enacted to help the coastal states along the Gulf of Mexico recover from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005.  READ MORE
On August 8, 2017, a Delaware Chancery Judge ruled that investors in Plains All American Pipeline LP (“Plains”) are entitled to review the company’s books and records following a 2015 oil spill that resulted from a pipeline breach.  The court found that investors had demonstrated a “credible basis” to investigate whether the incident was the result of corporate mismanagement.  This decision is a reminder that after a serious safety or environmental incident, companies may face investigations from a broad range of stakeholders seeking accountability, and courts may establish very low bars to the ability of investors to obtain corporate records relating to such incidents.  The decision reinforces the reasons that robust safety and compliance cultures... READ MORE
Several Van Ness Feldman attorneys will be presenting at this year's HydroVision International conference in Denver, CO on June 27-30, 2017.  Mike Swiger and Chuck Sensiba will be participating on a panel discussing FAST, WRDA, HREA and other regulatory developments that will affect hydro licensing. Julia Wood will be speaking on new approaches to mitigation in the United States and  Maranda Compton, member of our Native Affairs practice, will be speaking on building relationships with Tribes/First Nations to improve water management.  As the largest gathering of hydro professionals worldwide, HydroVision features 3000+ attendees and 320+ exhibiting companies from around the world for a week of informative hydropower-focused meetings, workshops... READ MORE
The 21st Annual Mid-C Seminar will cover a wide range of topics including the changing landscape in EIM, regulatory issues, REC's, physical trading, smart grid, and operational issues of changing resources. Van Ness Feldman's Malcolm McLellan will be giving a presentation entitled, "Transmission in the West Update." Van Ness Feldman is a proud sponsor of this year's seminar. Click here for more information and to register. READ MORE
We are pleased to welcome Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, former Environmental Protection Agency Chief of Staff, to Van Ness Feldman. Ms. Fleming brings over twenty years of public sector experience to the firm, having served as both an elected and appointed official at the state and local levels, as well as in various branches of the federal government, including most recently as a Principal Legal Advisor (General Counsel) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  READ MORE
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Van Ness Feldman LLP is pleased to announce that Phil Mone been named Of Counsel to the firm.  Mr. Mone is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  He advises a range of clients on natural gas, LNG, and electric utility regulation.  Phil is one of the leaders of the firm’s Pipeline & LNG and Electric practices, and actively participates in professional organizations such as the Energy Bar Association where he currently serves as chair of the Natural Gas Committee. Since joining the firm in 2014 from FERC’s Office of Administrative Litigation, Mr. Mone has focused his practice on all aspects of ratemaking and regulatory rate litigation, including helping companies submit rate filings and working with witnesses preparing for... READ MORE
In a Houston Chronicle op-ed, current Van Ness Feldman Senior Policy Advisor and former Senator Mary Landrieu discusses lessons learned from Hurricane Katrina and what the citizens of Houston now face in Harvey’s recovery effort. READ MORE
FERC FERC Requests Supplemental Comments on Energy Storage in Frequency Response Proceeding - August 18 - The Commission issued a request for supplemental comments related to whether and when electric storage resources should be required to provide primary frequency response, and the costs associated with primary frequency response capabilities for small generating facilities. This notice follows the November 17, 2016 Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) which, among other things, proposed to revise the Commission’s regulations to require all newly interconnecting large and small generating facilities, both synchronous and non-synchronous, to install and enable primary frequency response capability as a condition of interconnection. In light of... READ MORE
FERC Quorum Reinstated The three-commissioner quorum at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) was officially restored on August 10, 2017.  FERC is composed of up to five commissioners, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the U.S. Senate.  No more than three FERC commissioners may be from the same political party.  FERC had lacked a quorum since the resignation of Chairman Norman Bay on February 3, 2017.  Since July 2017, FERC has had only a single commissioner, Cheryl LaFleur (a Democrat), following the expiration of Collette Honorable’s term on June 30, leaving FERC with four vacant commissioner positions.  The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved President Trump’s first two... READ MORE
Federal Court of Appeals Vacates PHMSA Enforcement Decision  On August 14, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit vacated most of an enforcement decision of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) regarding ExxonMobil’s Pegasus crude oil pipeline which ruptured in March 2013 near Mayflower, Arkansas.  PHMSA had found that ExxonMobil violated integrity management regulations leading to the rupture, and assessed $2.6 million in civil penalties and imposed a compliance order requiring specific corrective actions.  The court found that ExxonMobil appropriately “considered” risk factors as required by the unambiguous language of section 195.452(e)(1) of PHMSA’s regulations.  In addition, the operator’s... READ MORE