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
Michael Pincus and Maranda Compton will present at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation's Midstream Oil & Gas from the Upstream Prospective Seminar in Houston, Texas on April 24, 2018.  Mike and Maranda will walk through the planning and permitting process for both oil and gas pipelines—providing a high-level review of the entire progression from siting to construction.  They will also focus on recent protests and related legal and civil challenges as a lens through which to explore how to achieve practical success in planning and permitting, covering both regulatory requirements and best practices.  READ MORE
The Federal Offshore Oil & Gas Leasing and Development short course is a three-day intensive program focusing on the legal authorities governing the offshore oil & gas industry.  Led by practicing attorneys, Department of Interior representatives, and other industry professionals, the course covers jurisdictional battles, leasing programs, bonding, inspections and enforcement, and other topics related to the federal offshore leasing program. Van Ness Feldman's Mike Farber is presenting on incidents on noncompliance, civil penalties, and investigations from a company's perspective. Click here for Mike's presentation. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman's Gwen Keyes Fleming will be moderating the New Source Review Reform: Past, Present, and Future teleconference, sponsored by the American Bar Association's Section of Environment, Energy, and Resources.  Conference participants will analyze EPA's recent memoranda, discuss possible changes to the NSR program, provide key technical elements for project/permitting considerations, and answer questions about making changes through regulatory guidance. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman LLP is pleased to announce that Sharon White been named Of Counsel to the firm.  Ms. White is based in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office.  She represents a broad range of clients on issues relating to the regulation of hydroelectric projects, including providing counsel on licensing and environmental matters affecting energy development.  Ms. White is one of the leaders of the firm’s hydropower practice, and actively participates in professional organizations such as the National Hydropower Association and the American Bar Association, where she serves as Vice Chair for Year in Review - Hydro Committee in the Section on the Environment, Energy and Resources. READ MORE
Van Ness Feldman Senior Policy Advisor and former Senator Mary Landrieu joined former Senators Trent Lott, Tom Daschle, and Olympia Snowe on a panel to offer their perspectives on the current state of the U.S. Senate and how members can work across party lines on major political issues.  The panel, entitled, "Making the Senate Work - How Can it Be Done?" was moderated by talk show host and former Executive Director of the California Democratic Party, Bill Press. READ MORE
With the help of our talented government relations and public policy team, Van Ness Feldman clients secured several notable legislative victories in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that was signed into law by President Trump on February 9th.  READ MORE
NERC NERC Publishes Lessons Learned Report from GridEx IV - March 30 - In its Lessons Learned report, NERC identified recommendations and lessons learned after its fourth grid security exercise which took place in November 2017.  Overall, the feedback from participating organizations was positive and the objectives that had been set out prior to the event (exercise incident response plans, expand local regional response, engage critical interdependencies, improve communication, gather lessons learned and engage senior leadership) had been met.  NERC recommends, among other things, to consider whether the diversity of fuel sources presents a vulnerability to common mode failures or disruptions, and for utilities to develop and maintain communication... READ MORE
Paul Roberti Named PHMSA’s Chief Counsel On March 27, Mr. Paul Roberti was sworn in as the Chief Counsel of the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).  In that role, Mr. Roberti has responsibility for pipeline safety and hazardous materials transportation matters.  Mr. Roberti has a long history of involvement in the energy industry, including a 7-year tenure as a Commissioner on the Rhode Island Public Utilities Commission.  Most recently, Mr. Roberti served as an executive director at Ernst & Young.   PHMSA Modifies Approach to Proposed Rule for Gas Transmission and Gathering Pipelines On March 26-28, the Gas Pipeline Advisory Committee (GPAC) continued consideration of the PHMSA’s notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM)... READ MORE
Legislative Update On March 8, 2018, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources approved S. 1336, the Reliable Investment in Vital Energy Reauthorization Act, a bill to reauthorize the hydropower production incentives from Sections 242 and 243 of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 through fiscal year 2027.  The bill was introduced by Sen. Cory Gardener (R-CO) on June 12, 2017.  With the Committee’s approval, the bill will now be set for a vote on the Senate floor.  There is a companion bill with the same title pending in the House of Representatives, H.R. 3256, which was introduced by Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) on July 14, 2017 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. D.C. Circuit Denies Appeal of FERC License Term... READ MORE