The Transportation Security Administration (“TSA”) has released a newly updated version of its “Pipeline Security Guidelines” (“Guidelines”) which outlines the measures that should be taken to protect pipeline cyber assets. TSA, which has oversight over more than 2.6 million miles of natural gas and oil pipelines, had not updated its Guidelines since 2011.  However, the threat of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure sectors, including the energy sector, has increased in volume, sophistication, and magnitude over the last seven years. While the electric industry has binding and enforceable cybersecurity standards, the original Guidelines issued by TSA were not mandatory. The voluntary nature of the Guidelines has raised concerns for electric... READ MORE
On March 6, 2018, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit or Court) issued an unsigned per curiam opinion, revising its July 2017 decision which struck down portions of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 Definition of Solid Waste (DSW) Rule.  This revision followed the court’s invitation in its July 2017 decision to have parties provide additional briefing on whether one of the vacated components of the decision should be severed and affirmed. READ MORE
The Government Accountability Office’s (“GAO”) February 2018 report, entitled “Critical Infrastructure Protection: Additional Actions Are Essential for Assessing Cybersecurity Framework Adoption,” outlined the progress the federal government, industry and their affiliates have made in protecting critical infrastructure.  Perhaps, more importantly however, the report revealed that many of the nation’s foundational public and private systems continue to face challenges in implementing  coordinated efforts to secure those systems from cyber threats, save for notable progress in a few sectors.  As regulators and legislators continue to explore the best methodologies of protection and dispatch resources to address the country’s cyber threats, critical... READ MORE
For the sixth year, Arizona State University's Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law will host its conference on the Governance of Emerging Technologies & Science ("GETS"). GETS brings together representatives from academia, industry, and private practice to discuss regulatory, governance, legal, policy, social, and ethical aspects of emerging technologies.  On May 18, Van Ness Feldman's Scott Nuzum will sit on a panel discussing the "pacing problem" in regulation. Scott's talk, entitled, "Liberalism in the Digital Age: Regulating Emerging Tech to Ensure Robust Democratic Institutions," will explore a range of existing and potential governance mechanisms to ensure that countries such as the United States can effectively foster technological innovation... READ MORE
Scott Nuzum will be a featured speaker at ELI's "Infrastructure Review and Permitting: Is Change in the Wind?" program Thursday, May 10th at Arnold & Porter's Washington, DC office.   Conference attendees will hear a variety of critical perspectives across the spectrum. In addition to Scott, speakers will include high level government officials, experienced practitioners representing industry and environmental NGOs, and congressional representatives who will address the wide range of environmental permitting and review challenges across sectors including transportation, energy, transmission, renewables, environmental restoration, and more. Panelists will delve into the role of policy and litigation in shaping these developments over the next three... READ MORE
The Expert Stakeholder Workshop, hosted by the Great Plains Institute and Duke University's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, explores recent energy and environmental policy developments in the PJM region.  The workshop features panels composed of state officials and stakeholders evaluating PJM market design, electric industry developments, and timely environmental issues. Van Ness Feldman's Kyle Danish is speaking on a panel that examines energy and environmental policy issues, including the recently passed tax credit for carbon capture and storage, the expansion of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, electrification of transportation, and decarbonization. Click here for more information and to register. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman LLP is pleased to announce that Jason Larrabee, former Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks at the Department of the Interior, has joined the firm’s Washington, DC office as a Senior Policy Advisor.  Mr. Larrabee brings over twenty years of public sector experience to the firm, having worked in various positions in Congress, including most recently, as Chief of Staff to Congressman Jeff Denham (R-CA).  READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman is pleased to announce that Melinda L. Meade Meyers has joined the firm’s Public Lands and Native Affairs practices. Ms. Meade Meyers brings nearly a decade of experience working on issues related to national park concessions, wildlife and animal law, federal small business contracting, and litigation.  She has successfully advocated for clients before various courts and administrative agencies in matters involving the Endangered Species Act, Animal Welfare Act, Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act, Concessions Management Improvement Act, and other natural resources statutes.  Ms. Meade Meyers also counsels Alaska Native corporations on federal small business government contracting and 8(a) Program small business... READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman congratulates the Yuba County Water Agency on celebrating its 10th anniversary of the Yuba Accord, a ground-breaking settlement of flow disputes on the Yuba River that included supplementation of cold water fish flows from the Agency’s New Bullards Bar Dam and Reservoir. Below is a video commemorating the landmark legal settlement. THE LOWER YUBA RIVER ACCORD from DeDe Cordell on Vimeo. READ MORE
FERC FERC Approves Transfer of SPP RE Registered Entities to MRO and SERC- May 4 - In response to a joint petition filed by NERC, Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO), and SERC Reliability Corporation (SERC) in connection with the dissolution of the  Southwest Power Pool Regional Entity (SPP RE), FERC issued an  order approving (i) the termination of the Regional Delegation Agreement between NERC and the Southwest Power Pool, Inc; (ii) the petitioners’ proposal to transfer registered entities within SPP RE to MRO; and (iii) revisions to Regional Delegation Agreements  between NERC and MRO, and NERC and SERC, to reflect the changed geographic footprints of MRO and SERC. FERC Approves Reliability Standard PRC-025-2 (Generator Relay Loadability) -... READ MORE
Spring 2018 Unified Regulatory Agenda Updates Status of PHMSA Rulemakings and Reflects New Regulatory Initiatives The Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) released its Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.  The tables below summarize the status of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pending pipeline safety rulemaking initiatives.  New and revised information appears in bold.  The Department of Transportation (DOT) has referred to the Unified Agenda in lieu of releasing a Significant Rulemaking Report for May.  Noteworthy new regulatory initiatives include:  Gas Pipeline Regulatory Reform and Liquid Pipeline Reform:  These separate... READ MORE
IN BRIEF  Migratory Bird Treaty Act: Trump Administration Limits its Effect, While the Courts Complicate MBTA Permitting Efforts The Trump Administration continues to limit the reach of the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA), a 1916 law that makes it a crime, “at any time, by any means or in any manner, to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill,” or attempt to do so to “any migratory bird, any part, nest, or egg of any such bird….” This prohibition has long been a concern to developers of wind energy projects and other large projects with potential effects on migratory birds, and the Trump Administration’s actions may provide short-term relief from these concerns. On December 22, 2017, the United States Solicitor issued Memorandum Opinion M-37050... READ MORE