Over the past year, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has become increasingly vocal about their commitment to prioritize cybersecurity and protect the U.S. electric grid from cyber threats.  In furtherance of this endeavor, last week the Commission issued a final rule (Order No. 848) which directs the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to expand its critical infrastructure protection standards related to the reporting of cyber incidents. READ MORE
On July 12, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of the Army (“Agencies”) issued a supplemental notice seeking additional comment on their 2017 proposal to repeal the definition of the term “waters of the United States” under the Clean Water Act (“CWA”), commonly referred to as the “WOTUS Rule.”  The WOTUS Rule, which defines the scope of federal jurisdiction under the CWA, was adopted by the Agencies under the Obama Administration in a 2015 rule titled “Clean Water Rule: Definition of ‘Waters of the United States’” (80 Fed. Reg. 27054, June 29, 2015).  As explained in previous alerts circulated in March 2014, June 2015, May 2016, March 2017, July 2017, November 2017, January 2018, and February 2018, the WOTUS Rule has... READ MORE
For the first time in over three decades, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) has begun the process of revising its procedural regulations on federal agency implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA).  Given the broad range of actions covered by NEPA—including federal permit applications, federal land management decisions, and more—plus the delay and cost frequently associated with NEPA compliance, this rulemaking process provides an important opportunity for energy infrastructure developers, utilities, federal land users, and others to help shape how federal agencies will implement NEPA in the future. READ MORE
Dan Press will be a featured speaker at the annual National TERO Convention in Cherokee, North Carolina. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman, Beveridge & Diamond, and NAWL's Environmental & Energy Practice Area Affinity Group cordially invite you to a breakfast program: Environmental Review and Permitting Reform for Infrastructure Projects.   The program is being coordinated by a group including Andrea Hudson Campbell, partner in our environment practice, and panelists will include  Gwen Keyes Fleming, partner in our environmental practice. READ MORE
We are pleased to announce that this year over half of the firm’s partners have been selected for inclusion in the 2018-2019 Best Lawyers in America. In addition,  Brian O'Neill has been recognized as Energy Regulatory Lawyer of the year for 2019.  READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman was named one of the Best Law Firms of its size for Minority Attorneys in a recent survey conducted by Law360. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman professionals were in attendance for Lambda Legal's Power of the Party event, celebrating the legal organization's first year in Washington, DC.  The event included New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and a keynote address from Representative Joe Kennedy, III. Click here for more information. READ MORE
D.C. Circuit Vacates FERC Hydropower License On July 6, 2018, in American Rivers v. FERC, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (D.C. Circuit) vacated the new license issued by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in 2013 for the Coosa River Project in Alabama and remanded the case to FERC.  The license was challenged by several conservation groups on grounds that the FERC license and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biological opinion (BiOp) FERC adopted violated the Federal Power Act, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Endangered Species Act (ESA).  These challenges derived from FWS’s analysis of proposed project operations under the new license, and its exclusion of historic impacts of the project (i.e... READ MORE
PHMSA Rulemakings Update.  The tables below summarize the status of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration’s (PHMSA) pending pipeline safety rulemaking initiatives as reflected in the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) June Significant Rulemaking Report and the Office of Management & Budget’s (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Spring 2018 Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions.  The Unified Regulatory Agenda appears in two principal parts, Current Agenda Agency Regulatory Entries for Active Actions and Current Long Term Actions.  New information is highlighted in bold.  Pending Final Rules Proceeding ... READ MORE
Legislative Update Both chambers of Congress addressed hydropower licensing reform in hearings held in June 2018.  On June 7, 2018, the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy held a hearing on improving the hydropower licensing process.  Witnesses included representatives from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps).  The hearing focused on the April 2018 “one-federal decision” Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) among the agencies and their work to streamline the permitting process.  FERC Office of Energy Projects Director Terry Turpin noted in his written... READ MORE