Below are summaries of the agenda items for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's open meeting to be held on October 19, 2023, pursuant to the sunshine notice released on October 12, 2023.
In this issue…
- Electric Items
- Gas Items
- Hydro Items
- Certificate Items
E-1 – Reliability Standards to Address Inverter-Based Resources (Docket No. RM22-12-000). On November 17, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) filed a notice of proposed rulemaking (NOPR) to direct the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to develop new or modified Reliability Standards that address the following reliability gaps related to inverter-based resources (IBR): (i) data sharing; (ii) model validation; (iii) planning and operational studies; and (iv) performance requirements. The Commission proposed different actions depending on whether the IBRs meet NERC's Bulk Electric System (BES) definition and are registered with NERC for compliance purposes, whether the IBRs are connected directly to the bulk power system but are not registered with NERC (unregistered IBRs), or whether the IBRs are distributed energy resources (i.e., connected to the distribution system). The Commission proposal would direct NERC to submit a compliance filing within 90 days of the effective date of a final rule containing a detailed plan explaining how NERC will develop and submit new and revised Reliability Standards to the Commission within 36 months of Commission approval of the plan. The Commission invited interested parties to submit comments on the matter. Over 20 parties filed comments in the docket, including NERC and its six Regional Entities: Midwest Reliability Organization, Northeast Power Coordinating Council, Inc., ReliabilityFirst Corporation, SERC Reliability Corporation, Texas Reliability Entity, Inc., and Western Electricity Coordinating Council. Agenda item E-1 may be a final rule with respect to the NOPR.
E-2 – Revisions to the Filing Process and Data Collection for the Electric Quarterly Report (Docket No. RM23-9-000). The record in Docket No. RM23-9-000 has not yet been populated or initiated in eLibrary. Agenda item E-2 may be an action that is being taken sua sponte by the Commission with respect to the filing process and data collection for electric quarterly reports (EQRs).
E-3 – ISO New England Inc. (Docket Nos. ER23-739-000; ER23-739-001; ER23-743-000; ER23-743-001). On December 29, 2022, pursuant to Section 205 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), ISO New England Inc. (ISO-NE) joined by the New England Power Pool Participants Committee (NEPOOL) and the Participating Transmission Owners Administrative Committee (PTO AC) (collectively, the Filing Parties) jointly submitted Part 2 of the filing regarding revisions to the ISO-NE's Tariff and the Transmission Operating Agreement (TOA) in Docket Nos. ER23-739 and ER23-743 to incorporate rules that will enable electric storage facilities to be planned and operated as transmission-only assets (Storage as Transmission-Only Asset or SATOA) to address system needs identified in the regional system planning process set forth in the OATT. Several parties filed pleadings in response to the December 29th Filing, including National Grid USA (National Grid). National Grid's comments requested that the Commission: 1) clarify that acceptance of the SATOA revisions will not preclude proposed non-SATOA storage facilities from being treated as participant-funded transmission projects or merchant transmission projects qualifying as Elective Transmission Upgrades (ETU) under the ISO-NE Tariff; or (2) to the extent the SATOA Revisions prevent non-SATOA energy storage facilities from qualifying as ETUs, require ISO-NE to modify its proposed Tariff revisions to make it clear that non-SATOA storage projects not being treated as SATOA projects under the ISO-NE planning process can be Elective Transmission Upgrades. On February 3, 2023, ISO-NE filed an Answer explaining that National Grid's requests for "clarifications," or, alternatively, Tariff modifications related to "non-SATOA storage projects" are beyond the scope of this proceeding and, therefore, must be rejected as a matter of law, among other reasons. On February 16, 2023, National Grid filed an answer to ISO-NE's February 3, 2023 filing, arguing that ISO-NE misinterpreted National Grid's January 19 Comments and reiterates its request to the Commission for clarification or, alternatively, a directive requiring the ISO to modify the Tariff to state that non-SATOA storage projects can qualify as ETUs under the elective transmission upgrade interconnection procedures set forth in Schedule 25 of the OATT. On March 3, 2023, ISO-NE filed a Motion for Leave to Answer and Answer to National Grid's February 16, 2023 Answer, arguing the Commission should deny National Grid's requested clarifications and Tariff modifications because such requests are beyond the scope of this proceeding. On May 15, 2023, the Commission issued a letter in Docket Nos. ER23-739-000 and ER23-743-000, informing ISO-NE that its December 29th Filing was deficient and requesting additional information (Deficiency Notice). ISO-NE submitted its Deficiency Response on June 14, 2023, in Docket Nos. ER23-739-001 and ER23-743-001. On July 5, 2023, Elevate Renewables F7, LLC (Elevate) submitted timely filed a motion to intervene and comments in support of ISO-NE's December 29th Filing, "as further explained and supported in ISO-NE's May 15, 2023 response to request for further information by the Commission's Director of the Division of Electric Power Regulation-East. On July 12, 2023, National Grid filed a Motion to Reject Pleading with respect to Elevate's July 5, 2023 Filing. Agenda item E-3 may be an order on the original tariff revision filings.
E-4 – Idaho Power Company (Docket No. ER23-2463-000). On July 21, 2023, Idaho Power Company (Idaho Power) and PacifiCorp (collectively, the Parties) submitted changes to its rate schedule regarding the enclosed Joint Ownership and Operating Agreement between Idaho Power and PacifiCorp (the JOOA) to, among other things, reflect the inclusion of the Boardman to Hemingway Transmission Project (B2H Project), a 300-mile-long 500- kV electric transmission line in the Pacific Northwest that is being jointly developed by the Parties with an expected in-service date in June 2026. In particular, the proposed JOAA amends and restates the Parties' current joint ownership and operating agreement to: (1) reflect additional shared ownership and transmission capacity resulting from the B2H Project, two related construction projects—Kinport-Midpoint 345 kV series capacitor construction project (Kinport Construction Project) and the Midpoint 500/345 kV transformer construction project (Midpoint Construction Project)—and a proposed asset transfer through a joint purchase and sale agreement (JPSA), which was filed concurrently through a joint application under Section 203 of the FPA in Docket No. EC23-111-000; (2) memorialize a shared capacity approach to ensure emergency service to the city of Idaho Falls, Idaho, following the closing of the asset transfer in the JPSA; (3) providing the ability for an Owner to Transfer all or a portion of its Ownership Interests in a transmission Segment to a third party; and (4) incorporating upgrade, transfer, and O&M provisions applicable to the B2H Project and any new transmission lines and substations to be added to the JOOA in the future. On August 10, 2023, Utah Associated Municipal Power Systems (UAMPS) filed a Motion to Intervene Comments in both the FPA Section 205 docket requesting to amend the JOOA and the FPA Section 203 docket requesting a proposed asset transfer. UAMPS submitted comments because it has a direct and substantial interest in this proceeding because the proposed asset transfer may impact UAMPS's ability to provide transmission service to its members, namely, Idaho Falls and Lower Valley Energy, and its generation resources located in southern Idaho, including a designated network resource, Horse Butte Wind. UAMPS generally supported the asset transfer and the development of the B2H Project. Its comments raised concerns, however, that the asset transfer will impact transmission service to UAMPS's members in southeastern Idaho, in particular Idaho Falls and Lower Valley Energy, and UAMPS's access to its generation resources in southern Idaho. On August 30, 2023, Idaho Power and PacifiCorp filed a Motion for Leave to Answer and Answer to UAMPS' August 10 Comments. Idaho Power and PacifiCorp state that in the JOOA pending before the Commission in the 205 Application, the Shared Capacity Transmission Facilities provisions ensure that the Applicants will each be able to provide transmission services for the delivery of power to Idaho Falls utilizing the transmission facilities included within the term Shared Capacity Transmission Facilities. Most importantly, the Shared Capacity Transmission Facilities avoid Idaho Power and PacifiCorp having to construct new transmission facilities for Idaho Falls load service. Thus, Idaho Power and PacifiCorp reaffirmed that the proposed FPA Section 203 transaction and the FPA Section 205 proceeding will not negatively UAMPS' service to Idaho Falls. Agenda item E-4 may be an order on the FPA Section 205 request to amend the JOOA. Agenda item E-4 only lists the FPA Section 205 docket; however, agenda item E-8 includes the FPA Section 203 docket, Docket No. EC23-111-000.
E-5 – MATL LLP (Docket Nos. ER22-2318-001; ER22-2318-002). On July 11, 2022, MATL LLP (MATL) submitted for filing its Order No. 881 compliance filing, revising the MATL Open Access Transmission Tariff (OATT) to add a new Attachment L: Transmission Line Ratings. On January 24, 2023, MATL filed an amended tariff after MATL realized had already filed a tariff record designated as Attachment L (Creditworthiness). The Order No. 881 compliance filing attachment should have been designated as Attachment O. Through its January 24, 2023 filing, MATL cancelled the "second" Attachment L and is including a new Attachment O: Transmission Line Ratings. Agenda item E-5 may be an order on MATL's amended Order No. 881 compliance filing.
E-6 – Western Interconnect LLC (Docket No. ER22-2883-001). On September 19, 2022, Western Interconnect LLC (Western Interconnect) filed, in compliance with the Final Rule issued in Docket No. RM20-16-000, its compliance filing (Compliance Filing) to amend its OATT to incorporate a new Attachment O (Transmission Line Ratings). On August 3, 2023, Western Interconnect filed a supplement to the Compliance Filing requesting an effective date of July 12, 2025 to coincide with the end of the three-year implementation period directed by the Commission in Order No. 881. On August 11, 2023, Western Interconnect filed the appropriate eTariff record reflecting the revised requested effective date as set forth in the August 3 supplemental filing. Agenda item E-6 may be an order on Western Interconnect's request to revise the effective date.
E-7 – Wilderness Line Holdings, LLC (Docket No. ER22-2989-000). On September 30, 2023, pursuant to Rule 204 of the Commission's Rules of Practice and Procedure, Wilderness Line Holdings, LLC (WLH) filed a request for wavier of the requirements of Order No. 881 regarding managing transmission line ratings. WLH seeks the waiver because it asserts that it is a small public utility that owns and operates a limited and discrete radial transmission line that functions solely as a shared generator lead line and absent a waiver, it would be subjected to unduly burdensome process to serve customers it does not have. Agenda item E-7 may be an order regarding WLH's request for waiver.
E-8 – Idaho Power Company, PacifiCorp (Docket No. EC23-111-000). On July 30, 2023, Idaho Power Company and PacifiCorp filed an application pursuant to Section 203(a)(1) of the FPA requesting authorization for the disposition and acquisition of jurisdictional facilities resulting from a proposed exchange of transmission assets between Idaho Power Company and PacifiCorp. Agenda item E-8 may be an order on Idaho Power Company and PacifiCorp's FPA Section 203 application.
E-9 – Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC, Dunns Bridge Solar Center, LLC, Indiana Crossroads Wind Farm LLC, Meadow Lake Solar Park LLC, and Rosewater Wind Farm LLC (Docket No. EC23-99-000). On June 26, 2023, Northern Indiana Public Service Company LLC (NIPSCO) and its public utility subsidiaries filed an application pursuant to Section 203(a)(1) of the FPA requesting authorization for a transaction pursuant to which BIP Blue Buyer L.L.C., indirectly and wholly owned by funds managed or advised by affiliates of Blackstone Inc. (Blackstone), will acquire an approximately 19.9 precent indirect minority interest in NIPSCO. On July 17, 2023, Public Citizen and Citizens Action Coalition filed a joint protest against the proposed transaction. Agenda item E-9 may be an order on the NIPSCO and Blackstone FPA Section 203 application.
E-10 – North American Electric Reliability Corporation (Docket No. RR23-3-000). On August 24, 2023, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) submitted a filing requesting acceptance of the 2024 business plans and budgets of NERC, the six Regional Entities, and the Western Interconnection Regional Advisory Body. Agenda item E-10 may be an order relating to NERC's request for acceptance of its 2024 business plans and budget.
E-11 – Twelvemile Solar Energy, LLC (Docket No. ER23-2603-000). On August 9, 2023, Twelvemile Solar Energy, LLC (Twelvemile Solar) filed a request for prospective limited waiver of certain provision of its interconnection agreement and the Southwest Power Pool, Inc. (SPP) tariff to permit a 28-month extension of the current December 1, 2023 commercial operation deadline for Twelvemile Solar's proposed solar-powered generating facility. Twelvemile Solar explains it is requesting the waiver because it has been unable to secure photovoltaic (PV) panels in time for the facility to achieve commercial operation by December 1, 2023. Agenda item E-11 may be an order regarding Twelvemile Solar's waiver request.
E-12 – New Brunswick Energy Marketing Corporation (Docket Nos. ER14-225-009; EL23-95-000). On December 30, 2022, New Brunswick Energy Marketing Corporation (New Brunswick) submitted for filing its triennial market power analysis for the Northeast Region under Docket No. ER14-225-009. Public information about Docket No. EL23-95 is not available but it may potentially be an FPA Section 206 investigation instituted by the Commission relating to the New Brunswick triennial filing. Agenda item E-12 may be an order relating to New Brunswick's triennial filing.
E-13 – Project-Area Wage Standards in the Labor Cost Component of Cost-of-Service Rates (Docket No. PL24-1-000). The record in Docket No. PL24-1-000 has not yet been populated or initiated in eLibrary. Agenda item E-13 may be an action that is being taken sua sponte by the Commission.
E-14 – THSI bn, LLC (Docket No. TX23-5-000). On June 21, 2023, THSI bn, LLC, (THSI) applied for a Commission order under Sections 210 and 212 of the FPA requesting Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, Inc., (AEPCO) to interconnect its transmission facilities with the THIS's proposed electric generating and storage project, Three Sisters Solar Project (Three Sisters Project or Project), in Cochise, Arizona. On July 21, 2023, AEPCO filed a Protest arguing that the Commission lacks authority to provide the relief sought by THSI and that by law, Commission precedent, and for public policy reasons, the Commission should deny the Application. Additionally, the American Public Power Association, the Large Public Power Council, and the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (collectively, the Associations) protested the Application and requested that it be denied because it improperly seeks to use Sections 210 and 212 to enforce a non-jurisdictional reciprocity transmission tariff and, seeks relief inconsistent with FPA Sections 210 and 212. Agenda item E-14 may be an order on THSI's interconnection request for the Three Sisters Project.
M-1 – Requests for Commission Records Available in the Public Reference Room (Docket No. RM23-11-000). The record in Docket No. RM23-11-000 has not yet been populated. Agenda item M-1 may reflect a new Commission policy regarding requests for Commission records that are available in the public reference room and the Commission's implementing regulations related thereto.
G-1 – Epsilon Trading, LLC, et al. (Docket Nos. OR18-7-002, et al.) (consolidated). This consolidated proceeding arose from a series of complaints that challenged Colonial Pipeline Company's (Colonial) indexed, grandfathered, and market-based rates. The complainants requested that (1) Colonial's market-based rate authority previously granted by the Commission with respect to certain routes be revoked because Colonial has market power in its origin markets and (2) the Commission find that Colonial's existing cost-based rates are unjust and unreasonable, and order Colonial to replace those rates with new just and reasonable rates. Complainants also sought reparations for amounts paid in excess of the just and reasonable rates for the statutorily allowed period. On December 1, 2021, the Presiding Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) issued a first partial initial decision on Colonia's market-based rates and Product Loss Account (PLA) charges. In her first partial initial decision, the Presiding ALJ found that, under the totality of the record, Colonial continues to lack the ability to exercise market power in the 90-county Gulf Coast geographic origin market but no longer lacks the ability to exercise market power in the 16-county Tuscaloosa-Moundville geographic origin market. Accordingly, the Presiding ALJ recommended that the Commission deny the complaint to Colonial's market-based rates for such Gulf Coast origin market, grant the complaint as to the Tuscaloosa-Moundville origin market, and not use its discretion to award reparations because no damages are supported on such record by substantial evidence, as would be required by the Interstate Commerce Act. The Presiding ALJ also found that Colonial's method of net recovery of costs associated with product loss, compatible interface and incompatible interface, and transmix disposition pursuant to one product loss account that Colonial claims to manage "on behalf of its shippers" is unjust and unreasonable. Accordingly, the Presiding ALJ recommended that the costs and revenues associated therewith be extracted from Colonial's cost-of-service rates and instead be recovered by Colonial pursuant to a fixed, tariff-based 0.19 percent allowance oil deduction (consistent with record evidence). The Presiding ALJ further recommended that the Commission exercise its discretion and find that the facts warrant awarding reparations, if any, to the complaining shippers under the Interstate Commerce Act. Agenda item G-1 may be an order on the first initial decision issued by the Presiding ALJ on December 1, 2021, including the briefs thereon and opposing exceptions thereto.
G-2 – Epsilon Trading, LLC, et al. (Docket Nos. OR18-7-003, et al.) (consolidated). See summary above for agenda item G-1. On April 27, 2022, the Presiding ALJ issued a second partial initial decision addressing the remaining cost-based rates issues raised in this proceeding. In her second partial initial decision, the Presiding ALJ evaluated and made certain recommendations to the Commission as to the record keeping, reporting and data management issues related to FERC Accounts 250 and 260. According to the Presiding ALJ, these issues were raised in the hearing order, used significant administrative resources to unravel, and "were compounded and complicated by the record-keeping, reporting, and data management misadventures of Colonial." The Presiding ALJ also provided recommendations regarding the threshold issues concerning this investigation into Colonial's cost-of-service for the base and test periods, including: (a) whether the complaints against the grandfathered portion of the regulated rate established by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 can stand in light of Section 1803's plain language (and the impact and risks posed by that, if any); (b) what is the analysis and result of the application of the substantial change test required by the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and FERC Opinion 154-B; (c) whether Colonial's currently indexed rates must be shown to have substantially deviated from its costs before there may be an analysis of Colonial's cost-of-service; (d) whether there is a reasonable, alternative basis for evaluating Colonial's cost-of-service under a stand-alone cost or incumbent network cost analysis; and (e) whether Colonial's test period cost-of-serve should continue to be based upon the recovery of costs and revenues under a trended-original cost analysis or whether the Commission should do so under a depreciated original cost analysis. The Presiding ALJ then turned to the issue of whether Colonial's existing, currently indexed rates remain just and reasonable, finding that an initial compliance filing is necessary to resolve this issue. According to the Presiding ALJ, the delta – if any – between Colonial's currently indexed rates and the accepted base and/or test period cost-of-service cannot be determined until a new, fully allocated cost-of-service is generated in accordance with this second partial initial decision and the Commission's order thereon. Agenda item G-2 may be an order on the second initial decision issued by the Presiding ALJ on April 27, 2022, including the briefs thereon and opposing exceptions thereto.
H-1 – BOST1 Hydroelectric, LLC (Docket No. P-15300-000). On January 31, 2023, BOST1 Hydroelectric, LLC (BOST1) filed an application (Preliminary Permit Application) for a preliminary permit pursuant to Section 4(f) of the Federal Power Act. BOST1 requested such Permit to study the feasibility of a pumped storage hydropower project located near the City of Enon Grove, Heard County, Georgia and situated between Hilly Mill Creek and the Chattahoochee River (such pumped storage hydropower project, the Project). According to BOST1's application, the proposed Project would consist of the following: (1) a 20 foot long, 30 foot deep reinforced concrete intake structure with trash racks, and a pumping station on Hilly Mill Creek; (2) a 24 inch diameter fill pipeline to the upper reservoir; (3) a geotextile lined rock filled embankment forming an enclosed upper reservoir; (4) a 66 foot deep enclosed upper reservoir with a storage capacity of 5,300 acre-feet; (5) a lower underground reservoir consisting of concentric circular tunnels reaching a depth of 2,100 feet below the surface, with the total length of the tunnels being 170,000 feet; (6) a reinforced morning glory type water intake situated within the upper reservoir with an outer diameter of 95 feet and an inside diameter of 38 feet; (7) a 23 foot-diameter, 2,300-foot long granite bedrock vertical tunnel trifurcating into three 10-foot-diameter steel lined penstocks leading to three reversible Francis pump turbines; (8) a 460 foot long, 80 foot wide, 160 foot high powerhouse, 200 feet below the lower reservoir containing the three pump turbine units with a total installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts; (9) a separate 60 foot wide, 410 foot long, 160 foot-high underground transformer gallery near the powerhouse; and (10) a 1 mile long, 500 kilovolt transmission line east of the proposed upper reservoir. On April 3, 2023, the Commission's Office of Energy Projects issued a letter accepting the Preliminary Permit Application for filing as of January 31, 2023. Various parties subsequently filed comments on the Preliminary Permit Application, generally opposing the Project on the grounds that BOST1 has failed to demonstrate any need for hydropower in the impacted communities and over concerns about the Project's potential ecological, hydrological, and geological impacts. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, meanwhile, submitted comments in which it made the Commission and BOST1 aware of a suite of tools to aid project planning, environmental assessments, and consultations on impacts to federally listed species that it hosts on its Information for Planning and Consultation (IPaC) system. Such comments also identified certain endangered and threatened species that it identified in its preliminary assessment of the Project area using IPaC, and encouraged the Commission to give special consideration to any potential effects the Project may have on the hydrology or geology underlying the Chattahoochee River, given the Chattahoochee River serving as an important resource for recreation and drinking water for the population of the Atlanta Metro Area, as well as an important riverine ecosystem for wildlife. Agenda item H-1 may be an order on the Preliminary Permit Application.
H-2 – Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. and Hudson River-Black River Regulating District (Docket Nos. P-2318-055, P-12252-038). On January 25, 2023, the Hudson River-Black River Regulating District (District), licensee of the Great Sacandaga Lake Project No. 12252 (GSL Project), filed a petition requesting the Commission declare that Erie Boulevard Hydropower, L.P. (Erie), licensee of the E.J. West Project No. 2318, must maintain a property interest in 56 feet of hydraulic head created by the District's GSL Project. On January 27, 2023, Erie filed a petition requesting the Commission declare that Section 10(f) of the Federal Power Act (FPA) preempts charges assessed against Erie by the District for releases from the GSL Project and that the District would violate its license should it divert all water around the E.J. West Project or significantly change the timing of releases without Commission authorization. On June 15, 2023, the Commission issued an order granting in part and denying in part the petitions. Specifically, the Commission held that the District's charges pursuant to the off-license reservoir operating agreement (ROA) are not preempted by Section 10(f) of the FPA, because the ROA is a private agreement between the District and Erie, and therefore the payments made by Erie pursuant to the ROA are independent contractual obligations and not preempted by the FPA. The Commission also held that Article 5 of the license for the E.J. West Project No. 2318 does not require Erie to obtain a property right in the hydraulic head created by the GSL Project, since the FPA does not require every component be under the same license. Rather, the Commission found that Erie is only required to own a property interest in those facilities licensed in the E.J. West Project No. 2318, while the District must comply with Article 5's requirement for the GSL Project features. The Commission further held that the District is not permitted to divert water around the E.J. West Project No. 2318 without prior Commission authorization. On July 14, 2023, the District filed for rehearing of the Commission's June 15 order (Rehearing Request). On August 14 22, 2023, the Commission issued a notice of denial of rehearing by operation of law with respect to the Rehearing Request while providing that the Commission would address the Rehearing Request in a future order. Agenda item H-2 may be an order on the Rehearing Request.
C-1 – Gas Transmission Northwest, LLC (Docket No. CP22-2-000). On October 4, 2021, Gas Transmission Northwest LLC (GTN) filed an application (Application) pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) seeking a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity to modify a total of three existing compressor stations in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon (the GTN XPress Project). Specifically, the GTN Xpress Project would involve the modification of three existing compressor stations along GTN's existing pipeline transmission system in Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. GTN would uprate existing compressor units at each station and install a new compressor unit at its Starbuck Compressor Station. According to GTN, these modifications would result in a total increase of 50,980 horsepower (hp) along GTN's system and increase capacity by 150 million standard cubic feet per day. GTN would also install additional cooling bays and associated piping at the Starbuck Compressor Station in Washington and Kent Compressor Station in Oregon. Commission staff issued a draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on June 30, 2022 and a final EIS on November 18, 2022. Commission staff concluded in the final EIS that construction and operation of the GTN Xpress Project, with the mitigation measures recommended in the final EIS, would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, with the exception of climate change, those impacts would not be significant. The final EIS did not characterize climate change impacts as significant or insignificant. Agenda item C-1 may be an order on the Application.
C-2 – WBI Energy Transmission, Inc. (Docket No. CP22-466-000). On September 27, 2021, WBI Energy Transmission, Inc. (WBI Energy) entered into FERC's Pre-Filing Process in Docket No. PF21-4-000. On May 27, 2022, WBI Energy filed a formal application (Application) in Docket No. CP22-466-000 pursuant to Section 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act and Parts 157 and 284 of the Commission's regulations to construct, own, and operate an interstate natural gas pipeline and ancillary facilities in Cass and Richland Counites, North Dakota (collectively, the Wahpeton Expansion Project). Specifically, the Wahpeton Expansion Project would involve construction and operation of 60.2 miles of 12-inch-diameter pipeline; minor modifications to WBI Energy's existing Mapleton Compressor Station; two new border stations; seven new block valve settings; four new pig launcher/receiver settings; and the addition of ancillary facilities such as cathodic protection and communication facilities. Additionally, WBI Energy proposes to use temporary access roads and contractor yards to support construction activities and would establish new permanent access roads to support operation of the new facilities. According to WBI Energy, construction and operation of the Wahpeton Expansion Project would provide about 20,600 equivalent dekatherms of natural gas per day to meet a growing demand for natural gas in southeastern North Dakota. Commission staff issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on November 3, 2022 and a final EIS on April 7, 2023. Commission staff concluded in the final EIS that construction and operation of the Wahpeton Expansion Project, with the mitigation measures recommended in the final EIS, would result in some adverse environmental impacts; however, with the exception of climate change, those impacts would not be significant. The final EIS did not characterize climate change impacts as significant or insignificant. Agenda item C-2 may be an order on the Application.
C-3 – Venture Global Plaquemines LNG, LLC and Venture Global Gator Express, LLC (Docket Nos. CP17-66-001, CP17-67-001). On December 27, 2022, Venture Global Plaquemines LNG, LLC (Plaquemines LNG) filed an application (Amendment Application) requesting authorization to amend its authorization for the Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline Project (Project) that was issued by the Commission on September 30, 2019 (Order). The Order authorized Plaquemines LNG and Gator Express Pipeline, LC to construct and operate the Project. Plaquemines LNG states in the Amendment Application that it has since identified the need for additional traffic volumes and parking areas to accommodate increased workforce numbers, and work week/hour limits in excess of what was previously authorized for construction of the Plaquemines LNG Export Terminal in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana. On May 19, 2023, Commission staff issued an environmental assessment for the Amendment Application, concluding that approval of the Amendment Application, with appropriate mitigating measures, would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Agenda item C-3 may be an order on the Amendment Application.
C-4 – Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Docket No. CP22-486-000). On July 7, 2022, Texas Eastern Transmission, LP (Texas Eastern) filed an application (Application) seeking authorization under Sections 7(b) and 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 157, Subpart A of the Commission's regulations, for two proposed replacement projects: the Appalachia to Market II Project and the Armagh and Entriken HP Replacement Projects. Specifically, the Appalachia to Market II Project is designed to provide up to 55,000 dekatherms per day of additional firm natural gas transportation service from the Appalachia supply basin in Southwest Pennsylvania to existing local distribution company customers in New Jersey, while the Armagh and Entriken HP Replacement Projects are designed to improve reliability on the Texas eastern system by replacing a gas-driven compressor unit with an electric-motor-driven compressor unit at each of two compressor stations. Commission staff issued an environmental assessment for the Application on February 10, 2023, concluding that approval of the Application would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment and that no system, route, or other alternative would meet the objectives of such projects while providing a significant environmental advantage over the projects as proposed in the Application. Agenda item C-4 may be an order on the Application.
C-5 – Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (Docket No. CP22-468-000). On May 27, 2022, Trailblazer Pipeline Company LLC (Trailblazer) and Rockies Express Pipeline LLC (REX) filed an application (Application) seeking authorization under Sections 7(b) and 7(c) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) and Part 157 of the Commission's regulations to construct, operate, and maintain certain natural gas transmission facilities in Colorado and Nebraska (the Trailblazer Conversion Project), and to abandon 392 miles of the Trailblazer pipeline in-place. According to the Application, the Trailblazer Conversion Project is proposed to provide natural gas service via the existing REX Pipeline to existing Trailblazer transportation customers and construct, install, own, operate, and maintain certain facilities necessary for TPC to continue service to its existing customers. According to the Trailblazer and REX, the purpose of the Trailblazer Conversion Project is to provide continuing service to Trailblazer's existing natural gas firm transportation customers using underutilized jurisdictional capacity on REX's pipeline facilities while making Trailblazer's pipeline facilities available by abandoning facilities in place, in anticipation of future non-jurisdictional use to transport carbon dioxide. Commission staff issued a draft environmental impact statement (EIS) on September 16, 2022 and a final EIS on February 17, 2023. Commission staff issued an environmental assessment for the Application on March 31, 2023, concluding that approval of the Application, with appropriate mitigating measures would not constitute a major federal action significantly affecting the quality of the human environment. Agenda item C-5 may be an order on the Application.
C-6 – Equitrans, L.P. (Docket No. CP21-455-000). On June 2, 2021, Equitrans, L.P. (Equitrans) filed a prior notice request (Prior Notice Request) for authorization pursuant to the Commission's regulations and the blanket certificate authorization granted to Equitrans, to plug and abandon the Pratt 3660 injection/withdrawal storage well (Well 3660), remove an associated valve, and abandon in place approximately 635 feet of six-inch diameter natural gas pipeline (collectively, the Project). On August 5, 2021, Commission staff issued an environmental assessment report, finding that (a) Well 3660 needs to be abandoned now because of safety concerns caused by corrosion in the well casing, (b) there will be no elimination or decrease in service to customers as a result of the Project, and (c) the Project will not impact the natural gas inventory, capacity, or operation of the Pratt Storage Field. On August 9, 2021, People Natural Gas Company LLC (Peoples) and Michael and Lora White, each filed a protest about the Project. The Whites stated that their house, located about 150 feet from Well 3660, exploded on October 31, 2018 due to natural gas that infiltrated into their home. The Whites contend that Equitrans did not provide them with information about the condition of Well 3660 prior to the October 2018 explosion, and that they are not aware of the current condition of Well 3660 and what steps, if any, have been taken to remediate Well 3660's condition. Peoples claims that Equitrans failed to disclose the explosion of the White's residence, the subsequent state investigations of the incident, or ongoing litigation. Peoples and the Whites did not withdraw their protests during the reconciliation period. Commission staff sent Equitrans a data request on April 6, 2023, seeking an update on the status of negotiations between Equitrans, Peoples, and the Whites to resolve the protests. In an April 24, 2023 filing, Equitrans stated that it provided Peoples and the White with testing information regarding Well 3660. However, Peoples and the Whites did not withdraw their protests or indicate what additional information would be required for them to do so. In a March 21, 2023 filing, Equitrans stated that it "has been unable to reach resolution with Peoples and the Whites and it does not appear that continuing to delay review of this prior notice request would be beneficial" and requested that the Commission proceed with processing of its Application. On July 17, 2023, Commission staff issued a supplement environmental assessment report, reaffirming its findings in its August 5, 2021 environmental assessment report. Agenda item C-6 may be an order on the Application.
C-7 – Updating Regulations for Engineering and Design Materials for Liquefied Natural Gas Facilities Related to Potential Impacts Caused by Natural Hazards (Docket No. RM22-8-000). On November 28, 2022, the Commission published in the Federal Register a proposed rulemaking, whereby the Commission proposed to revise its regulations governing liquefied natural gas (LNG) facilities subject to Sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act by removing outdated references for seismic hazard evaluations and seismic design criteria for LNG facilities and codifying in their place its existing practice of evaluating seismic and other natural hazards and design criteria for LNG facilities under its jurisdiction. The Center for LNG and the American Petroleum Institute (collectively, the Associations) filed joint comments asking the Commission to include in the final rule additional clarifications of references, definitions, and applicability of requirements to reduce uncertainty and avoid confusion. Specifically, the Associations contended that the Commission should (a) preferentially identify an appropriate industry consensus standard instead of adding internally produced FERC guidance into regulation (thereby creating an additional federal safety standard with respect to natural gas liquids) and (b) use the incorporation by reference process when including codes and standards into its regulations, which would comply with existing regulation and allow for industry and public input on the applicability of the proposed standards to be incorporated by reference. No other comments were filed on this proposed rulemaking. Agenda item C-7 may be a final rule for this proposed rulemaking.
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