Practice Areas & Industries: Husch Blackwell LLP

 





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Practice/Industry Group Overview

Husch Blackwell's energy regulation practice, headquartered in Washington D.C., has the proven experience and resources to handle regulatory, litigation and business issues affecting the production, transmission and supply of electricity, natural gas, crude oil, petroleum products and renewable fuels.

Our regulatory experience at federal agencies on Capitol Hill and in the courts forms the foundation for the distinctive services and innovative solutions we provide to our energy industry clients whether regulated or unregulated. Among its accomplished members, our energy regulation team includes multiple former FERC lawyers, including a former FERC chairman, as well as the principal legislative draftsman of the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978 and attorneys with senior-level in-house counsel backgrounds.

Federal and State Energy Regulation

Our energy regulation attorneys provide a full range of legal services and guidance to clients subject to government regulation of energy. We advise on issues pending before federal (including the FERC, Department of the Interior, Department of Energy and CFTC) and state regulatory agencies, legislative bodies and courts. In addition, we advise unregulated energy industry clients whose operations and business transactions are directly affected by federal and state regulation.

Some of the areas in which our energy regulation lawyers have provided advice include natural gas and electric restructuring proceedings, merger and asset acquisition and disposition proceedings, bypass proceedings, and utility rate proceedings. We also routinely advise on the regulatory aspects of new natural gas and oil pipeline projects, project financings, natural gas, oil pipeline and electric rate cases, tariff and certificate proceedings, complaint proceedings and transmission access proceedings.

Natural Gas Tariff/Certificate Cases

A significant part of our energy regulatory practice involves cases dealing with the issuance of certificates to and abandonment of natural gas facilities and service under Section 7 of the Natural Gas Act. We have been active on behalf of marketers, end-users, interstate and intrastate pipelines and distribution systems seeking to construct and provide service on new pipeline and storage facilities. Significantly, we have also represented parties in rate cases under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act, in FERC enforcement investigations, in state tariff proceedings and investigations, and with respect to regulatory compliance programs.

Natural Gas Rate Cases

Our extensive experience in proceedings involving rates, charges and terms of service of interstate natural gas pipelines under Sections 4 and 5 of the Natural Gas Act, and of intrastate pipelines under the Natural Gas Policy Act of 1978, includes representation of pipelines, local distribution companies, and marketers. We have also represented local distribution companies in state regulatory rate proceedings under the respective state regulatory process in obtaining fair and equitable rates and services for both the local distribution company and its ratepayers.

Oil Pipeline Rates & Transportation

We are involved in litigation regarding the rates and terms and conditions of service under the Interstate Commerce Act before the FERC, the U.S. Court of Appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court, and in state regulatory commission proceedings. We have advised and negotiated on behalf of companies seeking access to transportation on interstate pipelines.

Electric Rates, Transmission Access

We represent clients in proceedings before the FERC involving rates for wholesale sales of electricity as well as rates and terms and conditions of service for transmission service. Electric utilities and cooperatives seek our advice regarding transmission access proceedings under the Federal Power Act.

Representative Matters

  • Successfully defended natural gas marketing company against multi-million dollar civil penalty action brought by FERC Office of Enforcement
  • Represented producers and marketers of natural gas in pipeline certificate and rate proceedings
  • Obtained distribution to a client of hundreds of thousands of refund dollars from FERC enforcement proceeding against a trading partner of the client found to have manipulated the market price paid to the client
  • Regulatory counsel to midstream natural gas company on $260 million, 40 mile, 550,000 Dth/day pipeline expansion project in Marcellus shale producing region
  • Regulatory counsel on $2 billion, 1,800 mile, 600,000 barrels/day US-Canada oil pipeline joint venture project involving Alberta oil sand production
  • Chief litigation counsel for major oil company in successful multi-million dollar oil pipeline transportation and cost recovery arbitration
  • Successfully defended natural gas gatherer in Complaint proceeding before FERC seeking to impose federal regulation under the Natural Gas Act on the gatherer’s pipeline facilities
  • Regulatory counsel in FERC rate proceedings to Oklahoma Panhandle electric cooperative
  • Representation of crude oil marketer whose protest precipitated an unprecedented FERC investigation of three pipelines and their marketing affiliate with respect to discriminatory and preferential conduct against non-affiliated shippers, and obtained Commission approval of a settlement on favorable commercial terms in record time
  • On behalf of the owner of a newly constructed, independent propane storage facility, negotiated and obtained an agreement by an interstate pipeline regulated under the ICA to allow the storage facility to interconnect with the pipeline such that pipeline shippers could use the unaffiliated third-party storage in addition to storage owned by the pipeline
  • Representation of small natural gas producer in non-public, FERC enforcement “hotline” proceeding to obtain interconnect with interstate natural gas pipeline
  • Representation of major oil refiners and marketers as complainants, protestants and petitioners in proceedings before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the California Public Utilities Commission, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court seeking reparations, refunds and damages for unjust and unreasonable rates of oil pipelines owned by a master limited partnership
  • Representation of a major oil company shipper complainant in a case of first impression concerning FERC's regulation of oil pipelines under the Energy Policy Act of 1992 that resulted in multimillion-dollar settlement
  • Spearheaded global, industry-wide settlement negotiations on behalf of state regulatory commission and State Attorney General to resolve highly contentious litigation over interstate pipeline claims for millions of dollars in refunds of Kansas ad valorem taxes paid by the pipelines to thousands of Kansas producers in the 1980s
  • Representation of producer trade association in rulemakings restructuring the natural gas industry and establishing new operating standards for natural gas pipelines under Order No. 636 and in the individual pipeline proceedings implementing the new rules
  • Representation of an oil refinery customer of Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Corporation in a complaint proceeding by the refiner to enforce its contractual rights to natural gas receipt points received under a settlement of Transco's restructuring proceedings that Transco proposed to abandon by spinning down "gathering" facilities to an affiliate
  • Served as lead co-counsel for municipal LDC petitioners in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's review of Order No. 636, a landmark rule restructuring the natural gas industry

 
Group Presentations
  Electric Transmission 101: How the High-Voltage Grid Works and Who Regulates It, April 17, 2011
How Lawyers Can Add Value in NERC Reliability Audits, March 10, 2011
Whose Data Is It Anyway? Metering and New Privacy Issues, February 17, 2011
The Law of Demand Response Conference, December 1, 2010
Construction of New Midstream Infrastructure: Perils and Pitfalls of U.S. Federal Regulatory Jurisdiction, Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, July 22, 2010