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Energy Regulatory Law at the Federal level deals principally with regulation by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) of electric utilities and non-utility generators, interstate natural gas pipelines, oil pipelines, and non-Federal hydroelectric projects. Other key Federal agencies include:
  • The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, which licenses nuclear power plants and supervises their safety.
  • The Department of Energy, which sets appliance efficiency standards, and authorizes imports and exports of natural gas and exports of electricity.
  • The Department of Transportation, which sets fuel economy standards for motor vehicles and regulates natural gas and oil pipeline safety.
  • The Department of Interior, which superintends energy development on Federal lands including the Outer Continental Shelf.

At the State level, State public utility commissions regulate electricity and natural gas service to end-users. State regulators also often review siting of major power plants and transmission lines.

Practitioners in the energy regulatory field participate in administrative proceedings before Federal and State regulatory agencies, pursue judicial review of regulatory orders (where necessary), counsel clients on the application of energy regulatory law to their businesses and projects, and assist clients with related compliance, audit, and enforcement matters.

Bob Nordhaus is a member of Van Ness Feldman. Bob formerly served as General Counsel of FERC and as General Counsel of DOE. He also teaches Energy and Environmental law at George Washington University Law School.

Doug Smith is a member with Van Ness Feldman in Washington, D.C. Doug formerly served as General Counsel of FERC and Deputy General Counsel at DOE, and has taught Energy Law at George Washington University Law School.

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