On June 9, 2020, the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order No. 871, a Final Rule Limiting Authorizations to Proceed with Construction Activities Pending Rehearing (Final Rule). The Final Rule is likely to increase project costs for natural gas infrastructure by delaying their regulatory approvals. It prevents FERC from issuing notices to proceed with construction once a developer has received a certificate under sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) until (1) the time for filing of a request for rehearing has expired with no such request or (2) FERC has acted on the merits of a timely filed request for rehearing. NGA sections 3 and 7 are the statutory provisions that empower FERC to authorize natural gas import and export facilities, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals and natural gas pipelines, respectively.
On June 4, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed rule for calculating costs and benefits from Clean Air Act rulemakings. The proposal would require EPA to undertake a cost-benefit analysis for all significant Clean Air Act rulemakings — that is, those estimated to have at least a $100 million impact on the economy or are otherwise deemed significant — using the “best available scientific information” and instituting other procedural requirements. (more…)