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FERC asked to halt AIM project; Fed agencies begin study of Columbia River Basin


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FERC asked to halt AIM project; Fed agencies begin study of Columbia River Basin

Environmental and community groups again called on FERC tostop Algonquin Gas TransmissionLLC's Algonquin Incremental Market natural gas pipeline projectafter the company reported an incident during construction. FERC said Algonquinmust talk with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service after a violation of thecommission's authorization during construction of the expansion project.Spectra Energy Corp.'sAlgonquin has worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the New York StateDepartment of Environmental Conservation and New York State Historic PreservationOfficer.

Federal agencies on Sept. 30 launched an enormousenvironmental impact statement process that will intensely examine 14 of the ColumbiaRiver System's largest hydroelectric power dams and could determine futureoperations.

Supporters and detractors of the Clean Power Plan think theU.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit appeared to agreewith them as it delved into state and industry groups' legal challenge of theU.S. EPA's carbon-cutting rule, making the Clean Power Plan's fate difficult topredict.

California Gov. Jerry Brown hassigned legislation to bolster transparency, accountability and oversight at thePublic Utilities Commission, but he said more must still be done to reform thetroubled agency. With Brown's signing of the reform bills, the governor carriedthrough on some of the measures he and legislative leaders earlier this year. 

While it may represent a relatively small monetary victoryfor the twin brothers who co-own the Powhatan Energy Fund, a district courtruling that FERC needs to pay their legal fees related to a Freedom ofInformation Act dispute may be a moral triumph and shows the value of mediainterest in their situation.

The U.S. EPA should not have used a banner year for windgeneration capacity additions to justify the Clean Power Plan, petitionersalleged before a federal appeals court. The EPA used 2012 as its baseline yearin developing the carbon-cutting rule's goals, which petitioners the U.S. Court of Appealsfor the District of Columbia Circuit skews the data and unfairly suggests thatevery year can see as much wind development as that year.

Only one FERC commissioner served longer than PhilipMoeller, who since leaving the agency has buckled down in his new job workingfor the Edison Electric Institute. Still, he has plenty to say about his timeat the commission and the challenges facing the industry.

The U.S. EPA's Clean Power Plan's legal saga has had "moreplot twists than Game of Thrones," according to attorney David Doniger ofthe Natural Resources Defense Council.

New York's ambitious strategy to boost renewable energycould have little to no impact on emissions while costing ratepayers nearly$3.4 billion in its first five years, a new study claims.

Responding to FERC's recent notice of inquiry seekingcomments on whether the critical infrastructure protection, or CIP, reliabilitystandards should be modified in the wake of the 2015 cyberattack on Ukraine'spower grid, some stakeholders suggested that the existing standards provideadequate protection, at least for now.

A soon-to-be-enacted Washington law that places the onus onnatural gas distributors to cut the greenhouse gas output of their customers —or find alternatives to offset those emissions — is driving a by four utilities in thestate that claim the rule is at odds with their mandate to deliver gas to userson demand.