At its monthly public meeting earlier today, FERC announced the formation of a new Rehearings Group, under the direction of Office of the General Counsel attorney Robert Kennedy. This group will focus exclusively on drafting rehearing orders and will be taking a much more streamlined approach in doing so, eliminating from such orders the recitation of the procedural history of the case and its prior findings from the original order.
Importantly, future rehearing orders are only to address new arguments as to why the FERC’s initial order was in error. Where a rehearing applicant only restates its prior arguments, the rehearing order will just summarily deny the request for rehearing. In addition, it appears that each rehearing order is to be drafted by an attorney who was not on the team that drafted the original order.
In one of the two orders issued today under this new approach, FERC took the summary disposition approach. See Alliance Pipeline, L.P., Docket No. RP15-1022-003. The other order issued using this new approach is Entergy Gulf States Louisiana, LLC, Docket No. ER15-1922-000.
The Commissioners stressed that this streamlined drafting approach is intended to provide additional regulatory certainty to the public by getting these orders out the door more quickly. Rehearing orders today frequently take several years to issue.