On March 24, 2022, having faced significant industry objection1 (which had generated congressional interest2), the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC” or “Commission”) designated as draft policy statements two changes that it had previously announced3:
- Updated policy statement describing how the Commission will determine whether a new interstate natural gas transportation project is required by the public convenience and necessity under section 7 of the Natural Gas Act (Updated Policy Statement)
- Interim policy statement explaining how the Commission will assess the impacts of natural gas infrastructure projects on climate change in its reviews under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Natural Gas Act (Interim Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Policy Statement)
The Commission has requested comments on both by April 25, 2022, and reply comments by May 25, 2022.
The Commission also stated it would not apply the Updated Policy Statement or the Interim Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Policy Statement to pending applications or applications filed before the Commission issues any final guidance in the applicable dockets (PL18-1-001 and PL21-3-001).
1 Even though FERC had not invited substantive comments on these updated policies, the announcement of them generated significant comments and motions to intervene in the related dockets from many pipeline companies and other interested parties.
2 Including a letter dated February 15, 2022, to FERC from Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), which Commissioner Mark Christie responded to, and testimony in hearings before the Senate Energy Committee on March 3, 2022. Senator Barrasso also issued a statement relating the FERC’s March 24 decision.
3 Discussed in our February 22, 2022, Legal Update “US FERC Announces Major Changes to Gas Pipeline Certificate Policies.”