FERC last week opened the inquiry into its policies for issuing pipeline certificates, Docket No. PL18-1. FERC asked 26 questions.

Many of the questions were not unexpected; evaluating need on a regional basis, a point FERC Commissioner LaFleur highlighted, evaluating need in the face of precedent agreements with affiliates and the use of eminent domain, and reviewing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in the context of certificate applications.

But the FERC is also delving into whether it should evaluate the need for a project based on how the natural gas would be used. Four questions address whether FERC should issue a natural gas pipeline certificate based on the way the gas would be used or whether the FERC should consider other ways to meet a need, such as a renewable energy project, without using natural gas. Today, the FERC allows the various segments of the natural gas market to decide how natural gas should be used, a policy consistent with Congressional action and the FERC’s open access policies implementing Congressional action. Changing that policy would be a significant change. Comments on these questions will be due around June 30th.

Bob Fallon, 202 464-1331, rfallon@www.efenergylaw.com