Energy Enforcement Update

This week’s enforcement update covers:

  • Second Circuit reverses Rabobank LIBOR convictions over forced testimony;
  • Judge issues pretrial scheduling order in FERC case against Barclays;
  • Judge grants motions to dismiss Illinois ZEC lawsuit;
  • Ryan Smith files motion for judgment on the pleadings in Barclays case;
  • President Trump nominates Rostin Behnam to serve as CFTC Commissioner;
  • President Trump announces intent to nominate Kevin McIntyre as FERC Chairman;
  • FERC issues Notice of Alleged Violations against Rover Pipeline and Energy Transfer Partners;
  • CFTC files response to Kraft motion to compel; and
  • FERC issues Notice of Alleged Violations against American Transmission Company.

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House Passes Two Bills Giving More Pipeline Permitting Authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

On July 19, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a pair of bills aimed at reforming natural gas and oil pipeline permitting, and granting additional authority to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”).  Both bills passed on largely party-line votes.  The two bills are H.R. 2883, Promoting Cross-Border Energy Infrastructure Act, and H.R. 2910, Promoting Interagency Coordination for Review of Natural Gas Pipelines Act.  H.R. 2883, removes the current requirement that gas and oil pipelines, as well as electric transmission projects, obtain a Presidential Permit to cross an international border.  Instead, pipelines would obtain a certificate of crossing from FERC and transmission projects would obtain such a certificate from the Department of Energy.  If enacted into law, this change would mark a significant change for oil pipeline projects.  FERC currently has no authority over any aspect of interstate oil pipeline siting.  Currently, all siting decisions not on federal lands are handled at the state level, with international border crossings overseen by the State Department through the presidential permit process.  FERC does, however, oversee the siting of interstate natural gas pipelines, including Presidential Permits for international border crossings, under current law.

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Sidley Shale and Hydraulic Fracturing Report

Vol. 6, No. 27

Topics discussed in this week’s Report include:

  • Court vacated EPA stay of methane rule.
  • Suits challenged stay of BLM waste prevention rule compliance dates.
  • Department of Interior must issue oil and gas permits within 30 days.
  • Courts stayed sage grouse litigation pending Interior action.
  • D.C. Circuit ordered Nashville to move on pipeline application.
  • Environmental groups sued to block Wyoming oil and gas leases.
  • Environmental groups protested Utah lease sale, citing sage grouse.
  • Earthworks taking optical gas imaging cameras on tour.
  • Ohio EPA took actions against Rover Pipeline, LLC over alleged environmental violations.

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Stakeholders Assess the Effects of the Changing Mix of U.S. Energy Resources

In anticipation of the Department of Energy’s review of the nation’s power grid, stakeholder groups have recently published reports on the state of the U.S. power grid.  The reports add to the debate over what mix of energy resources are needed to sustain a stable, secure and reliable supply of electricity in the United States.

An April 14, 2017 memo from Energy Secretary Rick Perry directing the Energy Department to “explore critical issues central to protecting the long-term reliability of the electric grid” has focused the debate.  According to Secretary Perry, the 60-day review would assess whether federal policies have caused “the erosion of critical baseload resources.”  This includes an assessment of whether reduced coal-fired power generation due “in part from regulatory burdens introduced by previous administrations” has hurt the supply of baseload power and will “undercut the performance of the grid well into the future.” 

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Energy Enforcement Update

This week’s enforcement update covers:

  • CFTC enters into non-prosecution agreements with former Citigroup Global Markets Inc. traders in spoofing case;
  • CFTC orders $5.2 million in civil penalties for wash sales designed to generate exchange rebate fees;
  • FERC hosts technical conference on developments in natural gas index liquidity and transparency;
  • Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee releases new energy bill;
  • President Trump announces intent to nominate Richard Glick as FERC Commissioner;
  • FERC Enforcement and City Power file status report on settlement; and
  • Judge grants Kraft Foods motion to compel discovery from the CFTC.

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U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Issues Final Framework Rules for New Chemical Evaluation Regulatory Program

On June 22, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took historic action under the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), as amended last year by the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act of 2016. First, EPA promulgated three final rules that will guide a new TSCA program to identify and evaluate chemicals in the United States by establishing (1) the procedures to “reset” the TSCA chemical inventory; (2) the procedures to prioritize the chemicals that will be evaluated; and (3) the methodology EPA will use for conducting chemical risk evaluations. Second, EPA released guidance for interested parties to submit their own risk evaluations. Last, EPA released their scope of work for the first chemicals that EPA will evaluate.

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