Continuing developments in the Laser Northeast gathering proceeding impact the regulation of gathering and midstream companies operating in Pennsylvania.
By Kurt L. Krieger
Laser Northeast proposes to construct a gathering system in Pennsylvania extending into New York where it is to interconnect with an interstate natural gas pipeline. Its purpose is to provide gathering service to producers. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ("FERC") previously agreed that the system performs a gathering function under FERC's applicable test. In Pennsylvania, Laser is seeking "public utility" status under Pennsylvania law, which, if granted, would also provide Laser with the power of eminent domain.
Key Point of the Clarification:
[T]he absence of a finding of an intent to serve all producers that request service would be dispositive in determining that an entity is not a public utility. Similarly, a gatherer that uses contracts to determine which producers are privileged to demand service would likewise not be a public utility. A seminal tenet of public utility status is holding oneself out as offering service to "the public," and both of the circumstances set forth . . . remove an entity from providing service to "the public."
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Should you have any questions about this alert, please contact Kurt Krieger. For general questions involving energy law, please contact the Energy Team at Steptoe & Johnson PLLC.
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