Powered by the attorneys of Bracewell, Energy Legal Blog® is your resource for updates and analysis on national and global energy issues.
  1. Unmanned Aircraft System / Drone Update – House Transportation Committee Announces FAA Reauthorization Act

    Wednesday, February 3, 2016 2:13 pm by

    Today, members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee and Aviation Subcommittee announced the introduction of the Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization (AIRR) Act (H.R. 4441). The AIRR Act is a six-year reauthorization of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). While the proposed reforms to air traffic control garnered the most attention in the media, the AIRR Act also addressed efforts to integrate civil unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) into the National Airspace System (NAS). (more…)

  2. TOTAL Challenges Legality of FERC Enforcement Processes

    Friday, January 29, 2016 4:28 pm by , , and

    On January 27, 2016, TOTAL Gas & Power North America, Inc. (“TGPNA”) and two natural gas traders filed a complaint for declaratory relief in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas against the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) claiming that FERC intends to violate TGPNA’s statutory and constitutional rights by proceeding with an administrative enforcement action against the company for alleged violations of the Natural Gas Act’s (“NGA”) prohibition on market manipulation.[1] TGPNA’s complaint represents a direct attack on the legality of FERC’s existing enforcement processes and, if granted, could result in significant changes to the manner in which FERC investigates and prosecutes allegations of market manipulation and other regulatory violations. (more…)

  3. Monthly Futures Exchange Issuance Report: December 2015

    10:50 am by , , , and

    December’s Highlight

    On November 4, 2015, the Chairman of the CFTC, Timothy Massad, gave a speech to the Futures Industry Association Futures and Options Expo, in which he focused on the subject of swap data reporting. The Chairman noted the importance of data reporting to swap regulation generally and lauded the progress that has been made since Dodd-Frank. However, despite the significant progress in swap data reporting, the Chairman stressed that improvements to the reporting system are still necessary and that swap dealers need to improve the quality of their reporting, focusing on completeness and consistency. He stated that for “those industry participants who do not make timely, complete and accurate reporting,” the CFTC will not hesitate to “carry out enforcement actions.” The Chairman noted in particular a recent fine of $2.5 million dollars against a major global bank for repeated failures to comply with swap reporting obligations. Interestingly, in the weeks following the Chairman’s speech on the importance of swap reporting, the futures exchanges saw a particularly high number of disciplinary actions regarding futures reporting violations. See below for more details on the various disciplinary actions from December 2015, including those related to reporting violations. (more…)

  4. Supreme Court Upholds FERC’s Demand Response Rule, Order No. 745

    Monday, January 25, 2016 7:00 pm by , and

    In a closely watched case with potential impacts across a broad swath of the electric energy industry, on January 25, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the D.C. Circuit’s May 2014 ruling in EPSA v. FERC and instead upheld the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) demand response rule, Order No. 745, thereby affirming FERC’s jurisdiction to regulate wholesale markets. FERC issued Order No. 745 with the aim of encouraging participation of demand resources – generally industrial and other large energy users that can reduce or forego energy consumption during certain periods – in wholesale markets administered by FERC by allowing such demand resources to bid their reduced energy consumption for compensation at the same price and in the same markets as generating resources. (more…)

  5. FERC Clarifies Scope of Proposed RTO and ISO Disclosure Requirements

    Monday, December 21, 2015 5:58 pm by and

    On December 8, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) Office of Enforcement held a technical conference respecting FERC’s recent Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NOPR”) on Connected Entity Data.  As discussed in an earlier post, if adopted, the NOPR would dramatically increase the amount of information that entities participating in Regional Transmission Organization (“RTO”) and Independent System Operator (“ISO”) markets would be required to disclose regarding their affiliates, contractual arrangements, and employees.  In particular, the NOPR would require each market participant to report to each RTO and ISO any “Connected Entities,” a term that is defined to include: (more…)

  6. CFTC Settles Gas Index Manipulation Claim While FERC Allegations Remain

    8:00 am by , , and

    CFTC Order Accepting Settlement with Total Gas & Power North America, Inc. & Therese Tran for Attempted Manipulation of Natural Gas Monthly Index Settlement Prices

    On December 7, 2015, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (“CFTC” or the “Commission”) issued an order instituting proceedings, making findings, and imposing sanctions (“Settlement Order”) to resolve charges against Total Gas & Power North America, Inc. (“TGPNA”) and one of its natural gas traders, Therese Tran, for attempted manipulation of natural gas monthly index settlement prices.  The Settlement Order represents a settlement between the CFTC and TGPNA and requires TGPNA and Tran to jointly pay a $3.6 million civil monetary penalty and imposes other sanctions, including a bid-week trading limitation for two years; reporting requirements; and a documents/communications preservation requirement.


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