Articles Posted in U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals

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Petitioners, owners and operators of electrical power generation facilities, challenged several of the Commission's orders relating to the creation of the 2011-2014 "demand curves." NYISO holds monthly auctions to set the price of electrical power capacity in New York utilizing administratively determined demand curves. The court concluded that the Commission reasonably imposed the maximum suspension period; the Commission did not act arbitrarily by ignoring petitioners' argument that the Compliance Curves would necessarily exceed the Proposed Curves; the Commission did not exceed its section 205(e) authority under the Federal Power Act, 16 U.S.C. 824d(e), by suspending the Proposed Rates for longer than the five-month statutory maximum when it accepted the NYISO's voluntarily decision to delay implementation of the new curves; and the court rejected petitioners' challenge to the Commission's approval of NYISO's March 28 filing. The court also rejected petitioners' challenge to several technical aspects of the proposed curves. Accordingly, the court denied the petitions for review. View "TC Ravenswood, LLC v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Petitioners and intervenors petitioned for review of FERC's orders (1) approving PJM's method of disbursing a monetary surplus that resulted from the way it operated its markets, and (2) requiring PJM to recoup money refunded to the virtual marketers in connection with the administrative dispute over the surplus. The court held that FERC gave the virtual marketers reasonable notice that their refunds were under reconsideration, but that FERC's orders were arbitrary and capricious because they were insufficiently justified. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review of the Surplus Orders and granted the petition for review of the Recoupment Orders, remanding for further proceedings. View "Black Oak Energy, LLC v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Petitioner, an energy trader, challenged FERC's order to pay a $50,000 civil penalty because petitioner had made false statements and material omissions in forms he filed with the Commission and a market operator the Commission regulates. The court agreed with FERC that petitioner's admissions supported summary disposition without a hearing; because petitioner's actions were worse than careless, FERC reasonably concluded that he violated Market Behavior Rule 3; petitioner's arguments under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), 5 U.S.C. 500 et seq., were without merit; and petitioner failed to show that FERC increased his penalty to promote general deterrence. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "Kourouma v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Seeking to construct a natural gas compressor station in Maryland, Dominion applied for and received a certificate of public convenience and necessity from FERC. The Department subsequently twice refused to process Dominion's application for an air quality permit and Dominion sought expedited review from the court. The court granted Dominion's petition and remanded for further action because the Department's failure to act to grant, condition, or deny Dominion's air quality permit was inconsistent with federal law. View "Dominion Transmission, Inc. v. Summers, et al." on Justia Law

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NRG petitioned for review of FERC's order approving a settlement between PJM, NYISO, ConEd, PSE&G, and others regarding transmission service agreements. NRG objected to the settlement, which gave ConEd transmission rights not available to other market participants. The court concluded that FERC did not act arbitrarily or capriciously in approving an agreement that did not conform to PJM's open-access transmission tariff and that FERC's justifications for approving the agreement were reasonable and supported by substantial evidence. Accordingly, the court denied the petition for review. View "NRG Power Marketing, LLC, et al. v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Cumberland petitioned for review of the Commission's determination that Cumberland's failure to maintain adequate emergency lifelines in its mine's escapeways was a significant and substantial violation of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977 (Mine Act), 30 U.S.C. 814(d)(1). The court denied the petition for review, concluding that the Commission applied the correct significant and substantial standard and that substantial evidence supported its findings. View "Cumberland Coal Resources, LP v. MSHR, et al." on Justia Law

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Petitioners challenged the EPA's revised emissions standards for secondary lead smelting facilities. In 2012, acting pursuant to sections 112(d)(6) and 112(f)(2) of the Clean Air Act, 42 U.S.C. 7412(d)(6), (f)(2), EPA revised the 1995 emissions standards for secondary lead smelting facilities, reducing allowable emissions by 90% and requiring smelters to totally enclose certain "fugitive" emission sources. Industry petitioners first argued that the Secondary Lead Rule impermissibly regulated elemental lead as hazardous air pollutants (HAP). The court concluded, inter alia, that industry petitioners' first contention was time-barred and the second contention also failed because the Rule set HAP emissions standards at levels designed to attain the primary lead national ambient air quality standards (NAAQS), not the converse. In regards to environmental petitioners' challenges, the court concluded that environmental petitioners have shown that their members would have standing under Article III to sue in their own right. However, environmental petitioners' challenge failed on the merits. Their primary argument that, when EPA revised emissions standards under section 112(d)(6), it must recalculate the maximum achievable control technology in accordance with sections 112(d)(2) and (d)(3), was barred by NRDC v. EPA, 529 F.3d 1077 (D.C. Cir. 2008). Accordingly, the court denied in part and dismissed in part the petitions for review. View "Assoc. of Battery Recyclers v. EPA, et al" on Justia Law

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This case arose from actions taken by the Commission approving an application by Southern for combined licenses to construct and operate new Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle Nuclear Plant and an application by Westinghouse for an amendment to its already-approved reactor design on which the Vogtle application relied. After the close of the combined-license hearing record, petitioners sought to reopen the hearing to litigate contentions relating to the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Dai-ichi complex in Japan. The court held that the Commission acted reasonably in denying petitioners' contentions where the Task Force Report, studying the implications of the Fukushima accident for the United States, alone was not a "new and significant" circumstance requiring a supplemental environmental impact statement and petitioners' contentions lacked specific links between the Fukushima Accident and the Vogtle Site. Accordingly, the court denied the petitions for review. View "Blue Ridge Env. Defense League, et al v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, et al" on Justia Law

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In 2007, FERC granted various rate incentives to encourage the construction of three projects by SoCal Edison. The beneficial rate treatment included incentives to be added to a base rate of return for the projects. Later that year, SoCal Edison filed revisions to its transmission tariff, pursuant to section 205 of the Federal Power Act (FPA), 16 U.S.C. 824d, to reflect changes to its transmission revenue requirements and rates, implementing the rate incentives and proposing a base return on equity (ROE). The Commission concluded that SoCal Edison's base ROE should be set at the median, rather than the midpoint as SoCal Edison proposed, of the range established by a proxy group of publicly-traded companies, and that the ROE for the locked-in period should be updated to reflect the most recently available financial data. SoCal Edison petitioned for review, challenging the Commission's conclusions. The court denied the petition as to the Commission's methodology for measuring the ROE, and the court granted the petition and remanded in view of the Commission's failure to comply with 5 U.S.C. 556(e) when it updated the ROE with information outside the record. View "So. California Edison Co. v. FERC" on Justia Law

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Pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, Pub. L. No. 111-203, 124 Stat. 1376, the SEC promulgated a rule requiring certain companies to disclose payments made to foreign governments relating to the commercial development of oil, natural gas, or minerals. Petitioners challenged the statute and the regulation, raising constitutional and statutory claims. The court dismissed the petition for review for lack of jurisdiction. Because petitioners have simultaneously filed a complaint in the district court, the court need not consider transferring the petition to that court. Additionally, the court's dismissal of the petition was without prejudice to petitioners' suit in the district court. View "American Petroleum Institute, et al v. SEC" on Justia Law