Public Interest? Federal Court Questions USACE Review of Need for Hospital

On September 9, 2021, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio ruled against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) in a case styled Friends of the Mahoning River v. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers , a challenge to a Section 404 permit issued for the construction of a hospital. Although challenges to Section 404 permits are nothing new, this particular case is notable for its treatment of USACE public interest regulations – regulations that apply to all applications for Department of the Army permits by the USACE Regulatory Program. 33 CFR Part 320. Those regulations require...

FERC Announces Members and Establishes First Meeting for Joint Federal-State Transmission Task Force

On August 30, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) issued an order advancing its efforts on the Joint Federal-State Task Force on Electric Transmission (“Task Force”) [1] initially announced in a June 17, 2021 FERC order . [2] The August 30 FERC order identified Task Force members, announced an initial meeting date, and requested that interested stakeholders submit recommended agenda topics for the Task Force’s initial meeting to FERC. FERC identified the following broad goals for the Task Force: “identifying barriers that inhibit planning and development of more efficient...

FERC Launches Sweeping Effort to Gather Input on – and Potentially Overhaul – its Transmission Planning, Cost Allocation and Generator Interconnection Rules

On July 15, 2021, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“ANOPR”) requesting comment on a broad set of potential reforms to the Commission’s regional transmission planning, regional transmission cost allocation, and generator interconnection processes. Coming at a time of renewed focus on the need for capital investment to modernize the grid to meet the needs of a rapidly changing resource mix, the ANOPR represents a first step by the Commission to address perceived inadequacies in existing transmission planning,...
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FERC Endeavors to Encourage Transmission Development in Coordination With States

At the June 17, 2021 Open Meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) issued a policy statement and an order reflecting its continued support for transmission project development and transmission investment to achieve federal and state renewable resource policy goals. I. FERC Policy Statement on Voluntary Agreements FERC’s policy statement seeks to eliminate potential barriers to voluntary agreements providing for the construction of transmission facilities, including voluntary agreements involving one or more states (“Voluntary Agreement”) (“Policy Statement...
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FERC Staff Issues White Paper on Hybrid Resources; Seeks Industry Input

On May 26, 2021, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) staff issued a white paper regarding the current status and use of hybrid resources – e.g., co-located generation and storage facilities – in wholesale markets, including markets operated by Regional Transmission Organizations and Independent System Operators (“RTOs”). [1] Following a technical conference that FERC held last year on the same topic, [2] the White Paper provides FERC staff’s preliminary views and observations in a handful of areas related to hybrid resources, including interconnection issues and the participation of...

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