March 15, 2019

Friction Shadows FERC Pipeline Process Review

Scott Grover

After applying its principles in relatively unwavering fashion for nearly 20 years, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) stands poised to modify its guidelines for authorizing the construction of new interstate natural gas pipeline facilities. On April 19, 2018, FERC issued a Notice of Inquiry seeking feedback from stakeholders as to whether, and if so, how the agency should revise the current standards applicable to the process by which FERC approves requests under the Natural Gas Act (NGA) by jurisdictional interstate pipeline companies to construct new natural gas transportation facilities that are shown to be, now or in the future, required by the public for convenience and necessity. See Certification of New Interstate Natural Gas Facilities, Docket No. PL18-1, 163 FERC ¶ 61,042 (Apr. 19, 2018) (the NOI). To facilitate the provision of stakeholder input, FERC set forth several questions for interested participants to address in four categories. The categories include (1) need determination, (2) eminent domain exercise and landowner interests, (3) the consideration of environmental impacts, and (4) improvements to review process efficiency. See id., 51–60.

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