At its April 19, 2018 open meeting, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously voted to open a new Notice of Inquiry (NOI) seeking input on whether, and if so how, it should update its existing policies and procedures for reviewing and issuing authorizations to interstate natural gas transportation facilities under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. The Commission adopted in current policies in 1999.

At the time of posting this note, the actual NOI had not yet been posted to the Commission's web page. According to staff's presentation at the meeting, the NOI will seek input on whether, and if so how, the Commission should adjust:

  1. its methodology for determining whether there is a need for a proposed project, including the Commission's consideration of precedent agreements and contracts for service as evidence of such need
  2. its consideration of the potential exercise of eminent domain and of landowner interests related to a proposed project
  3. its evaluation of the environmental impacts of a proposed project

Finally, the Commission will seek input on whether there are specific changes the Commission should consider implementing in order to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its Section 7 certificate processes, including on a pre-filing, post-filing, and post-order issuance basis.

The Commission has designated the NOI as Docket No. PL18-1. Comments are due 60 days after the notice is published in the Federal Register. Until the Commission reviews and considers the comments filed, and then takes further action on this issue, the Commission's existing policies and procedures will remain in place.