Navigating Texas Regulations During Hurricane Harvey: TCEQ Executive Director's Regulatory Guidance and Governor Abbott's Disaster Proclamation Provide Potential Relief

A series of decisions between the Governor's office and the Executive Director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality ("TCEQ") has resulted in the suspension of a number of state environmental rules relating to a broad range of areas impacted by Hurricane Harvey, to the extent that the rules prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with the disaster. The rules covered by the suspension include rules governing the reporting and recordkeeping requirements for unauthorized emissions, visible emissions limits and outdoor burning prohibitions, low-emission-fuel requirements,...

New Commission Approves City Power Manipulation Settlement

Yesterday, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued an order approving a settlement agreement between FERC’s Office of Enforcement and City Power Marketing, LLC, and its owner, K. Stephen Tsingas (together, City Power). The order resolves the Commission’s claims that City Power violated FERC’s anti-manipulation rule and its rule requiring truthful communications with the Commission. Without admitting or denying the allegations, Tsingas agreed to pay a $1.42M civil penalty and $1.3M in disgorgement, and City Power must pay a $9M civil penalty. FERC initially had sought a civil...

USFWS Postpones Endangered Species Listing Determination for Texas Hornshell Mussel

On August 10, 2017, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS or Service) issued a Federal Register notice indicating its intent to delay by six months its determination whether to list the Texas hornshell mussel as an endangered species. The decision to postpone the final determination, which also extends the comment period to Sept. 11, 2017, was made based on “substantial disagreement” about the status of the species in Mexico. It also occurs within the context of debate within Congress about the Endangered Species Act (ESA) amid concerns about the ESA’s economic impacts. The USFWS...

U.S. Futures Exchanges Disciplinary Actions Report - July 2017

NYMEX NYMEX 15-0305-BC Position Limits Violation of Rule 562 – Position Limit Violations On August 9, 2016, a Probable Cause Committee (“PCC”) panel charged a non-member entity with violating NYMEX Rule 562, based on allegations that on November 23, 2015, the non-member entity held a long position of 1,225 December 2015 Natural Gas Futures contracts, which was 22.5% above the standard monthly position limit that was in effect. On November 23, 2016, the Business Conduct Committee (“BCC”) entered an order finding that the non-member entity failed to answer the charge and thus was deemed to have...

Financial Transmission Rights Guidelines – Mexico

On July 28, 2017, the Mexican Ministry of Energy (Secretaria de Energia or SENER) published the final guidelines for the Financial Transmission Rights (“FTR”) Auctions (the “Guidelines”), which will govern the auction process for Mexico’s newly created FTR market. The final Guidelines or Manual de Subastas de Derechos Financieros de Transmisión are the end result of months of public commentary and several interim drafts. Below are a few key points to note: 1. The FTR auctions will be conducted in two phases. The FTR auctions will be conducted in two phases as described below: Phase One . In...

FERC Staff Issues New Guidelines on Cultural Resources

On July 31, 2017, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) staff issued new Guidelines for Reporting on Cultural Resources Investigations for Natural Gas Projects. The new guidelines include changes of potential interest and significance to developers (“project sponsors”). In addition to changes in the organization of reports and documents, the guidelines define more detailed expectations for project sponsors, particularly concerning engagement with tribes. It remains to be seen whether the changes lead to improved dialogue with tribes on cultural resources, or more divergence in...