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News Digest

Fortnightly Magazine - December 1999

that had struck down air pollution standards for ozone and particulates proposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as unconstitutional.

At the same time, the court fell one vote short of deciding to rehear the case en banc before the court's full slate of 11 judges, even though five of the nine judges who examined the matter chose to vote for rehearing. American Trucking Assoc. Inc. v. EPA, Nos. 97-1440 et al., 1999 WL 979463, Oct. 29, 1999 (D.C.Cir.).

Earlier, on Oct. 21, while court review was still pending, the EPA had announced that it would reinstate its one-hour smog standard for measuring ground-level ozone in nearly 3,000 counties where the standard had been revoked since 1998 in favor of a more stringent 8-hour standard.

On Oct. 28, EPA had released for comment its latest draft report of scientific air quality criteria for particulate matter. See www.epa.gov./ncea.

The EPA added that by Nov. 30 it would act on petitions from several states regarding regional transport of nitrogen oxide emissions. See www.epa.gov.ttn/oarpg/ramain.html.

Gas Pipelines. A federal appeals court ruled that a gas pipeline compressor station qualified as a gathering facility outside FERC jurisdiction, even though the station supplied pressure needed for operation of a mainline pipeline system, where other factors were more important: (1) the compressor was located upstream of processing facilities, (2) it was needed to operate a cryogenic liquid extractor, and (3) it supplied pressure needed to overcome mainline pressure to facilitate pipeline injection - a function seen as the province of producers. Williams Field Servs. Group Inc. v. FERC, Nos. 98-1241 et al., 1999 WL 969261, Oct. 26, 1999 (D.C.Cir.).

Radioactive Waste. A federal appeals court ruled that federal agencies need not grant permission to intervene in agency proceedings to persons who would otherwise satisfy the criteria for standing (case controversy and justiciable interest) in a judicial setting.

The would-be intervenor, which had long held a license to dispose of radioactive byproducts, had wanted to appear before the Atomic Safety and Licensing Board to oppose license applications filed later by competitors that would be reviewed under less-stringent rules. Envirocare of Utah Inc. v. NRC, Nos. 98-1426 et al., 1999 WL 961164, Oct. 22, 1999 (D.C.Cir.).

Power Markets

Electric Standard Offers. Connecticut regulators OK'd a standard offer distribution rate of 9.34 cents per kilowatt-hour for Connecticut Light & Power Co., the last order in a series of dockets setting the framework for competition beginning Jan. 1. But the order was "by no means definitive," the commission said, because several transactions, including the bidding to provide wholesale standard offer generation services and the completion of generation plant sales (expected around the end of the year) still needed to be completed, causing the competition transition charge and general shopping credit to be listed as "To Be Determined."

Distribution Rate 2.53 cents

Transmissio* 0.38 cents

Systems Benefit Charge 0.23 cents

Conservation and Load Management 0.3 cents

Renewables 0.05 cents

Competition Transition Assessment (CTA) TBD

General Shopping Credit (GSC) TBD

GSC and CTC combined 5.85 cents

Docket No. 99-03-36, Oct. 1, 1999 (Conn.D.P.U.C.).