FERC today proposed to revise its 2006 regulations governing the siting of interstate electric transmission lines in order to implement congressional directives included in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
That legislation directed FERC to issue a rule establishing the manner in which the Commission would issue a permit for construction or modification of a transmission line located in a National Interest Electric Transmission Corridor (National Corridor) designated by the Department of Energy. The Commission’s authority to issue such a permit is limited to situations where a state has denied or failed to act in a timely manner on an applicant’s request to site transmission facilities located in a National Corridor.
“When it comes to siting transmission facilities, states will continue to have the primary responsibility,” FERC Chairman Rich Glick said. “Today’s NOPR proposes a framework that fulfills the statutory authority provided the Commission by Congress to act as backstop under certain circumstances. I look forward to working alongside our state partners to ensure needed transmission infrastructure is built.”
Today’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR), among other things, proposes to:
- Implement FERC’s newly clarified authority to issue a permit if a state has denied an applicant’s request to site transmission facilities in a National Corridor;
- Eliminate from existing regulations the one-year delay following the submittal of state applications before FERC’s pre-filing process may commence (this would allow simultaneous processing of state applications and FERC pre-filing proceedings);
- Introduce a new Applicant Code of Conduct as one way for an applicant to demonstrate it has met the statutory good faith efforts standard in its dealings with landowners; and
- Add three new resource reports to be filed with the application, including an Air Quality and Environmental Noise Resource Report, a Tribal Resources Report and an Environmental Justice Report.
Comments are due within 90 days of publication in the Federal Register.