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May 21, 2024 Chair's Column

Chair’s Column

Linda S. Stein

I hope you enjoy this issue of Infrastructure. Infrastructure issues are often at the forefront of the news. The recent collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore, Maryland, after it was struck by a barge has shed a spotlight on the critical importance of infrastructure to the lives of all Americans.

As such, an article in this issue as well as presentations made at our April 2024 meeting focus on how some of the changes in technology and the regulatory environment are affecting the regulated industries that we represent. This issue of Infrastructure contains a thoughtful piece on the strategies for expanding and rehabilitating the United States electric power grid at a time when America has shown increasing reliance on and desire to use clean energy. I want to thank the authors Andy Flavin and John Sample of Troutman Pepper for this article. I would also like to thank Tim McHugh, the Editor of Infrastructure, for his fine work in presenting another edition of the publication.

At our April 2024 meeting in Savannah, Georgia, we had some excellent CLE presentations in addition to the many informative and well-presented industry committee reports. On Thursday April 11, Stan Blanton of Balch & Bingham as well as Millie Ronnlund of Southern Nuclear Operating Co., provided an interesting retrospective and update on the regulatory considerations and US Nuclear Regulatory Commission licensing process involved in constructing Vogtle Units 3 and 4, nuclear units in Georgia. Vogtle Unit 3 entered commercial operation in July 2023 and Vogtle Unit 4 is expected to enter commercial operation in the second quarter of 2024.

On Friday, April 12, Tod Cohen and his colleagues at Steptoe made a presentation on how recent technological innovations in artificial intelligence (AI) are affecting regulated industries. The presentation, titled “AI: OK What Now?–A Year Into the Boom,” focused on regulatory developments in the use of AI in the communications, transportation, energy, and water industries. It also addressed cross-cutting legal and regulatory issues associated with the use of AI and provided some best practices and recommendations regarding the use of AI.

The Infrastructure and Regulated Industries Section will continue to provide articles, webinars, and presentations about current legal issues that are relevant to our industries. For example, this summer we expect to have a webinar on recent US Supreme Court cases that will affect our industries. If you have ideas for future programs, articles, podcasts, or webinars, please feel free to reach out to me directly at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you.

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Linda S. Stein