August 29, 2018 Articles

Motions to Intervene at FERC: Engagement or Obstruction?

Many contend that intervening is an aggressive tactic to increase the costs of and ultimately stall or defeat projects.

By Jehmal T. Hudson

If you want to challenge a natural gas energy project, one option is to file a motion to intervene at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). A motion to intervene is a submission seeking legal standing in a FERC proceeding based on an interest that may be directly affected by the outcome of the proceeding. Unlike filing a comment on a project, which anyone can do and has no special rights, becoming an intervenor indicates that a party has an ongoing connection with a project and allows it to request a rehearing by FERC and ultimately to sue through the federal court of appeals system if it disagrees with FERC’s decision-making. All motions to intervene should be submitted to FERC pursuant to 18 C.F.R. § 385.214.

While intervening in a project preserves a party’s right to take FERC to court following a commission decision, many contend that it is an aggressive tactic to increase the costs of and ultimately stall or defeat projects. Additionally, there has been a growing concern that many regulatory filings that don’t follow FERC’s guidelines represent a new strategy to obstruct energy projects.

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