White House NEPA proposal seeks to speed up oil, gas pipeline reviews
The White House on Jan. 9 released a proposed rule to speed federal reviews of pipeline and other infrastructure projects under the National Environmental Policy Act, delving into disputed areas of law and appearing to constrain federal agency consideration of climate change impact indirectly associated with oil and natural gas projects. The proposal comes amid raging debate at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and in the courts over the extent of greenhouse gas considerations needed in interstate gas project reviews — and whether FERC must consider indirect emissions of the downstream end use of the gas or upstream production.
FERC gives Emera reduced fine for cooperating in fuel price-setting case
Emera Energy Inc. agreed to pay a reduced civil penalty after self-reporting that it justified seeking higher fuel price payments for a power plant in the ISO New England footprint between 2015 and 2016 with price offers that an affiliated natural gas trading desk posted to an exchange. In reducing the fine, FERC placed "significant emphasis" on Emera's self-reporting. The penalty "would have been significantly higher" without the cooperation, the commission said in its order.
Waterway group opposes PennEast request for in-service extension
Environmental advocates want FERC to reject an in-service extension request by PennEast Pipeline Co. LLC and have asked a federal appeals court to allow them to reopen a challenge to the company's 1.1-Bcf/d natural gas transportation project. PennEast's FERC certificate, issued in 2018, required the developer to put the pipeline in service by Jan. 19. Two weeks ago, however, the developer asked for a two-year delay, to 2022.
US House bills advance to enable FERC raises, bolster electric car deployment
A key U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee Jan. 9 approved by voice vote nine energy-related bills, including legislation to promote electric vehicle deployment and address a shortfall of engineers at FERC to review applications for gas pipelines and LNG export projects. The subcommittee approved H.R. 1426, the Timely Review of Infrastructure Act. The bill is aimed at addressing a shortage of qualified engineers at FERC that has resulted in a backlog of applications to authorize new gas pipelines, LNG export terminals, and other infrastructure.