FERC Releases Final Report on Review of Agency Actions
On October 25, 2017, FERC released a final report regarding whether its policies materially burden the development and use of domestic energy resources (“Final Report”). While FERC concluded that most agency actions are not materially burdensome or are necessary to administer its statutory mandates, FERC recommended certain changes to licensing processes, exemption processes, and determinations on deficient applications for hydropower resources.
On March 28, 2017, President Donald Trump signed Executive Order 13783, which required federal agencies to submit to the Office of Management and Budget (“OMB”) a review of their existing policies that potentially directly affect or have an indirect primary effect on the development or use of domestic energy resources. The Executive Order stated that reviews should consider the effect of actions on oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear energy resources, hydropower, and renewable generation resources. In a May 8, 2017 Guidance Memo, OMB clarified that independent agencies, including FERC, were not required to comply with the directive. Nonetheless, FERC submitted to OMB its plan for reviewing its policies on May 12, 2017 and a draft final report on July 26, 2017.
In the Final Report, FERC focused on agency actions related to: hydropower licensing; liquefied natural gas (“LNG”) facility, natural gas pipeline, and natural gas storage facility siting; centralized electric capacity market policies in PJM Interconnection, L.L.C., ISO New England, Inc., and New York Independent System Operator, Inc.; and generator interconnection policies. In general, FERC determined that most agency actions in these areas do not materially burden domestic energy resources or are necessary for FERC to administer its statutory mandates…..