FERC Issues New Guidelines for Natural Gas Projects

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The staff of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) Office of Energy Projects has finalized its revised Guidelines for Reporting on Cultural Resources Investigations for Natural Gas Projects, which were issued in draft form on January 25, 2017, for comment. The guidelines have been revised to provide updated guidance on communicating with federally recognized tribes; clarifications regarding off-the-record communications; documentation for Blanket Certificate Programs; and to address substantive comments received on the draft guidelines.

The guidelines can be found in Docket Number AD15-10-000, with the full text of available at http://www.ferc.gov/industries/gas/enviro/guidelines.asp.

The guidelines are only intended to provide guidance to the industry and do not substitute for, amend, or supersede FERC regulations under the Natural Gas Act of 1938 or the Commission’s and Council on Environmental Quality’s regulations under the National Environmental Policy Act.

In response to the draft guidelines, FERC staff received comments from federally recognized Indian tribes, industry representatives, federal and state agencies, and non-governmental organizations. FERC staff reviewed and considered each comment and modified several portions of the document in response.  However, they declined to modify the document where comments either were too project- or location-specific to be included in general guidance, were already adequately/accurately addressed as written, or regarded topics that were not relevant.

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