Howard L. Nelson

Howard L. Nelson has more than 30 years of regulatory and litigation experience, the majority of which has been related to energy matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state public utility commissions, and the Court of Appeals. His litigation experience includes representing parties in major interstate natural gas and petroleum pipeline hearings involving complex multiparty major rate cases, and in certificate, LNG licensing, restructuring, tariff, fuel, gas quality, merger, and interconnection proceedings. He also advises clients on virtually all aspects of natural gas, including LNG, and oil pipeline regulation, including project development, the design of transportation and storage services and rates, negotiating and drafting contracts, strategic planning, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Howard has also assisted clients with due diligence investigations concerning acquisitions and financings of electric, solar and wind assets. Finally, Howard has briefed and argued several cases at the D.C. Circuit and 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

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FERC Clarifies and Reaffirms ADIT Rules

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued Order 864-A on Public Utility Transmission Rate Changes to Address Accumulated Deferred Income Taxes (ADIT). Order No. 864-A addresses requests for clarification and rehearing concerning the obligation of public utilities with either transmission formula rates or transmission stated rates to return excess ADIT arising from the reduction in the … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Proposes Significant Streamlining of National Environmental Policy Act

On Jan. 9, 2020, the Trump administration’s Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) proposed rules that would update comprehensively the regulations promulgated under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) for the first time in 40 years. After 40 years there is little question that the regulations could use updating and that environmental reviews can be streamlined. … Continue Reading

LNG Export: DOE Authorizes a New Business Model Under Its Small-Scale Export Rule

On Nov. 8, 2019, the Office of Fossil Energy (FE) of the Department of Energy (DOE) issued DOE/FE Order Nos. 4461 and 4462 (the Orders) authorizing GT client SpotX Energy, LLC (SpotX) to export domestically produced liquefied natural gas (LNG) under its recently enacted “small-scale natural gas export” rule (the Rule). The Rule amended DOE’s … Continue Reading

Office of Fossil Energy of the Department of Energy Issues Notice of Proposed Rulemaking That Will Automatically Authorize Certain Applications To Export Small Volumes of Natural Gas

On Sept. 1, the Office of Fossil Energy of the Department of Energy (DOE/FE) issued a notice inviting public comment on a proposal which, if adopted, will authorize automatically applications to export small volumes of natural gas to non-Free Trade Agreement nations.  82 Fed. Reg. 41,570 (Notice).  As DOE/FE describes its proposal: [T]he proposed rule … Continue Reading

The Death of Public Citizen in Pipeline NEPA Analyses: Was it Ever Alive?

Last week we examined the Sierra Club v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission decision from the D.C. Circuit holding that natural gas pipeline NEPA review must consider greenhouse gas emissions impacts from power plants served by the proposed pipeline. This week, we review the decision and its impact on pipeline projects: In August, the U.S. Court … Continue Reading

CEQ Issues Measured Final Guidance for Federal Agencies in their Consideration of GHG Emissions in NEPA Reviews

On Aug. 1, 2016, the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) issued its Final Guidance for Federal Departments and Agencies on Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects of Climate Change in National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Reviews. CEQ issued the guidance in an endeavor “to provide greater clarity and more consistency in how agencies … Continue Reading

Does FERC’s Denial of Authority to Construct Jordan Cove Signal a More Rigorous Test for Future LNG Projects?

On March 11, 2016, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) denied an application by Jordan Cove Energy Project, L.P. (Jordan Cove) for authority under Section 3 of the Natural Gas Act (NGA) to site, construct, and operate a facility at Coos Bay, Oregon, for the exportation, principally to Asia, of liquefied natural gas (LNG). In … Continue Reading

FERC Clarifies Prohibition on Buy/Sell Arrangements

At the request of Rice Energy Marketing LLC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), on Oct. 15, 2015, issued a Declaratory Order that clarified the extent to which releases of capacity to asset managers are exempt from FERC’s prohibition on buy/sell transactions. As clarified, the exemption extends to volumes of gas purchased from the releasing … Continue Reading

FERC’s Reaction to CEQ’s Greenhouse Gas Guidance: For Now, Business as Usual

On June 23, 2015, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order Denying Rehearing of its earlier April 6, 2015 order, authorizing Sabine Pass Liquefaction, LLC to construct and operate natural gas liquefaction export facilities. The order is noteworthy for the Commission’s response to the arguments made by the Sierra Club that the Commission failed … Continue Reading
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