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News Digest

Mergers & Acquisitions
Fortnightly Magazine - May 15 2000

from Central Illinois Public Service Co., after a child in each family was afflicted with neuroblastoma, a cancer of the peripheral nervous system.

The court rejected the utility's argument that because there was no known cause of neuroblastoma, and because the carcinogens found at the site had not been linked directly to the affliction, the testimony of an expert witness on toxicology and epidemiology was inadmissible.

It said that under Illinois law, "[W]hen the cause or etiology of a specific disease is not known, or is otherwise unclear, proof of causation is not quite as stringent." It added that on a statistical basis, "The fact that four Christian County children developed neuroblastoma within the span of a little over two years is overwhelming."

 

Gas Pipelines

Pro Forma Tariffs. The FERC extended the deadline for natural gas pipelines to file tariff sheets to comply with Order 637, issued Feb. 9, so that shippers who take service from multiple pipelines can comment more effectively on the filed tariffs.

The FERC set a staggered schedule, with 33 pipelines required to file by June 15 (including ANR, Columbia, El Paso, and Kinder Morgan), another 33 by July 17 (Iroquois, Maritimes & Northeast, Natural Gas Pipeline Co., and Northern Border), and the last 34 by Aug. 15 (Tennessee, Texas Eastern, Transco, Trunkline, and Williams).

Service Changes. A federal appeals court remanded a FERC order regarding gas pipeline service classifications, finding no need to require Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Corp. to hold an "open season" to allow customers receiving "essentially firm" transportation with a volumetric charge (ever since it dropped bundled commodity service following Order 636) to choose between interruptible service or a new two-part firm service with separate usage and reservation charges.

The court questioned why customers, "having already elected firm service, must now be asked, 'Firm service - is that your final answer?'"

Judge Randolph dissented, saying that customers still needed to choose between one- and two-part service.

Pipeline Competitors. A federal appeals court ruled that the FERC need not treat as mutually exclusive two competing projects to construct natural gas gathering pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico, nor review them in a single consolidated case.

The case involved ANR Pipeline Co., which sought to build a gathering line from "Block 207" to Garden City, La., and block a competing project by affiliates of Manta Ray Offshore Gathering Co.

 

Congress

Global Climate Change. Sen. Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska) held hearings March 30 on two bills (S. 1776, S. 882) that urge voluntary emission reductions rather than concerted government action to address the possibility of global climate change, but Dr. Daniel Lashof, senior scientist at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said that most electric utility industry claims of reductions in CO2 emissions from power plants are "fanciful," as they reflect only a switch to nuclear power.

In their paper, "Less Than Meets the Eye: An Analysis of Greenhouse Gas Emission 'Reductions' Reported by Electric Utilities," released by NRDC in March, Lashof and David Hawkins summarized their findings based on voluntary reports of emissions reductions submitted by