Category Archives: Compliance

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2018 Energy Reform Priorities: Streamlining to Further Reduce Compliance Burden

As 2017 comes to a close, the specifics of the Trump Administration’s agenda for energy regulatory reform in 2018 are beginning to take shape. To implement President Trump’s Executive Order on “Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth” (No. 13783), federal agencies solicited public comment and have now issued reports identifying their priorities for reform. These … Continue Reading

FERC Issues NOPR on Information Collection, Rescinds Previous Iterations of Rule

On July 21, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) in Docket No. RM16-17-000 to revise regulations regarding the collection of data for analytics and surveillance purposes from market-based rates (MBR) sellers and entities trading virtual products or holding financial transmission rights (Virtual/FTR Participants). FERC also withdrew two … Continue Reading

Toxic Substances Control Act Revised for the 21st Century

On June 22, 2016, President Obama signed the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act into law.  The Act is the first significant change to the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act in 40 years and amends the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) methods for reviewing chemical substances before they are marketed and allowed to be used in consumer products. … Continue Reading

Small Generators May Soon Be Required to “Ride Through” System Disturbances

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) to revise its pro forma Small Generator Interconnection Agreement (SGIA). The new rule would require small generators (those that are 20 MW or less) to “ride through” through or to stay connected to and synchronized with the transmission system during a … Continue Reading

Environmental Groups Challenge EPA Refinery Rule

Environmental groups continue their attack on long-standing rule provisions under the Clean Air Act that limit or exclude liability related to “startup, shutdown, and malfunction” events. Historically, USEPA has acknowledged that it may be impracticable, if not impossible, for industry to meet emissions standards during certain periods, including during startup, shutdown or malfunction events, when … Continue Reading

Clean Power Plan: EPA Issues Final Carbon Reduction Rule for Existing Stationary Sources

On August 3, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the final version of the Existing Source Performance Standards (ESPS) component of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), setting the first-ever carbon dioxide emission reduction goals for States. Environmental Protection Agency, Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources, 40 CFR Part … Continue Reading

FERC Issues Order to Show Cause and Notice of Proposed Penalty to City Power Marketing, LLC and K. Stephen Tsingas

On March 6, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an Order to Show Cause and Notice of Proposed Penalty (Order) to City Power Marketing, LLC and K. Stephen Tsingas (jointly, Respondents). The Order requires the Respondents to show cause why they should not be found to have violated the Federal Power Act and … Continue Reading

Monitoring and Testing (and Taxing): New York Appellate Court Imposes Sales Tax on Environmental Remediation Work

Keeping with a growing trend, a New York appellate court in Exxon Mobil Corp. v. State of New York Tax Appeals recently upheld a ruling applying a sales and use tax assessment to environmental remediation work. New York law has a provision imposing a sales tax on services related to “[m]aintaining, servicing or repairing real … Continue Reading

CFTC Proposes Clarification of the Interpretation on Forward Contracts with Embedded Volumetric Optionality

On November 3, 2014, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), proposed a clarification of its previously issued interpretation concerning the exclusion of forward contracts with embedded volumetric optionality from the “swap” and “future delivery” definitions.  The CFTC seeks to clarify the seven elements previously provided as guidance … Continue Reading

FERC Approves $12 Million Settlement for Reliability Standards Violations of Imperial Irrigation District

On August 7, 2014, FERC issued an order approving a Stipulation and Consent Agreement between FERC’s enforcement staff, NERC, and Imperial Irrigation District (IID).  See Imperial Irrigation District, 148 FERC ¶ 61,108 (2014). As indicated in FERC’s press release about the order, this Stipulation and Consent Agreement is the second settlement to stem from the September 8, … Continue Reading

The Clean Power Plan: Key Questions and Answers

Q:        What is the Clean Power Plan? A:        The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) is proposing to regulate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from fossil fuel-fired electric generating units (EGUs) through a rule called the Clean Power Plan.  This rule does not purport to directly regulate EGUs.  Instead, USEPA is proposing statewide carbon … Continue Reading

Electric Reliability Actions at November 21, 2013 FERC Open Meeting

At the penultimate Open Meeting of the year (and the last open meeting of Chairman Wellinghoff), the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) took a number of significant actions related to electric reliability.  Commissioner LaFleur issued a statement regarding the actions and FERC Staff provided a presentation regarding each item.  In her remarks, Commissioner LaFleur noted … Continue Reading

Follow-Up on Reliability-Related NOPRs

In addition to the reliability-related decisions and Notices of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) issued during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) July 18, 2013 Open Meeting, there are two reliability-related dockets that are worthy of mention and provide an opportunity for interested parties to submit comments.… Continue Reading

FERC issues Report on Reliability Standards Audit of Salt River Project

On July 18, 2013, FERC issued a report on its audit of Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District (SRP). This audit commenced on November 15, 2011, and it reviewed SRP’s compliance with the NERC reliability standards for the entire period from June 18, 2007 (when the reliability standards became mandatory and enforceable) until … Continue Reading

FERC Makes Several Reliability-Related Issuances at Its July Open Meeting

During its July 18 Open Meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission made several reliability-related issuances: three Notices of Proposed Rulemakings (NOPR), one final rule approving a reliability standard, and a decision regarding South Louisiana Electric Cooperative Association’s (SLECA) North American Electric Reliability Corporation’s (NERC) registry appeal.… Continue Reading

FERC Issues Agenda for July 9 Reliability Technical Conference

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will hold a Commissioner-lead technical conference on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 from 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. to discuss policy issues related to the reliability of the Bulk-Power System. According to the agenda released on June 19, the conference will be comprised of four panels: State of Reliability and … Continue Reading

FERC fines Westar $420,000, plus $1.15 million in Disgorgement of Unjust Profits, For Improper Use of Network Service Under the SPP OATT

On January 25, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) approved the January 14, 2013 settlement between its Office of Enforcement (Enforcement) and Westar Energy, Inc. (Westar) to resolve an investigation under Part 1b of the Commission’s regulations, 18 C.F.R. Part 1b (2012) concerning possible violations of the Southwest Power Pool open access transmission tariff … Continue Reading

FERC News: FERC Approves $1.5 million Deutsche Bank Market Manipulation Settlement

On January 22, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) approved the January 14, 2013 settlement between its Office of Enforcement (Enforcement) and Deutsche Bank Energy Trading LLC (Deutsche Bank) to resolve an Order to Show Cause proceeding and Enforcement’s investigation under Part 1b of the Commission’s regulations, 18 C.F.R. Part 1b (2012), into Deutsche … Continue Reading

FERC Approves NERC’s Proposed Changes to its Sanction Guidelines

On December 20, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved numerous revisions proposed by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation to its Rules of Procedure (ROP). North Amer. Elec. Reliability Cor., 141 FERC ¶ 61,241. The approved revisions include numerous changes to §400, Compliance Enforcement, of the ROP, to Appendix 4B, Sanction Guidelines, and to … Continue Reading

Court Overturns Position Limits

On September 28, 2012, Judge Robert L. Wilkins of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an opinion vacating the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (“CFTC”) attempted imposition of position limits pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act (“Dodd-Frank”). International Swaps & Derivatives Ass’n v. CFTC, Civil Action 11-cv-2146 (Memorandum Opinion). Specifically, the Memorandum … Continue Reading

Parties Seek Rehearing/Clarification and Review of Order Nos. 1000 and 1000-A

On June 18, 2012, multiple parties filed requests for rehearing of FERC’s Order No. 1000-A [PDF], which is the order on rehearing of FERC’s landmark Order No. 1000 [PDF] order on transmission planning and cost allocation. Transmission dependent utilities (“TDUs”) argued that in Order No. 1000-A the Commission erred by determining that unless public utility … Continue Reading

FERC’s Recent Focus on Market Manipulation: Is It Time to Review Your Compliance Plan?

FERC has recently imposed severe monetary penalties on entities it claims engaged in market manipulation in violation of the Federal Power and Natural Gas Acts. In particular, FERC has focused on entities that it asserts have engaged in gas or power transactions for the purpose of obtaining financial benefits with respect to related transactions.… Continue Reading

Court Stays Cross-State Air Pollution Rule

Originally published as a Schiff Hardin Environmental Update newsletterOn December 30, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued an order staying the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) pending the resolution of an appeal of the rule. Several companies, industry groups and states appealed CSAPR after it was promulgated in … Continue Reading