Washington

Western Pennsylvania Landman Pleads Guilty to Mail Fraud

One of two landmen accused of defrauding property owners in Washington County, PA, has pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud in federal court.

September 30, 2013

Industry Brief

Washington state regulators saidPuget Sound Energy(PSE) has agreed to pay a $275,000 penalty to settle a natural gas safety complaint lodged against the Bellevue, WA-based combination utility last year regarding a pipeline leak, explosion and house fire in North Seattle in 2011. TheWashington Utilities and Transportation Commission(WUTC) alleged that PSE violated certain gas safety rules when it responded to reports of gas leaks in the Pinehurst neighborhood of Seattle two years ago. An explosion and fire subsequently destroyed a home and injured two people. Under the settlement, PSE admits there were violations and agreed to pay the penalty. The utility is not allowed to pass on the cost of the fine in the retail rates it charges customers. The WUTC staff found the cause of the leaks late last year and recommended a $400,000 penalty (seeDaily GPI,Dec. 28, 2012).

September 30, 2013

Risk-Takers to Lead Oil, Gas Industry, Says Former DOE Official

It will be up to risk-taking entrepreneurs –and not Congress– who will lead the way for the oil and natural gas industry, a former U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) official said Wednesday in Denver.

August 8, 2013

LNG Approval Delays Costing Billions, Think Tank Says

Pro-business Washington, DC, think tank American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) has a new paper extolling the benefits of exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) that it hopes will light a fire under the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its export approval process.

July 22, 2013

Industry Briefs

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved a multi-year rate plan for Puget Sound Energy (PSE) to increase annual limits for natural gas and electricity rates over the next three to four years. PSE’s gas rates would increase by $9.1 million, or 1.55%, and power rates would increase by $52.3 million, or 3.34%, effective Monday (July 1). Rates may increase over the period by a maximum of 3%, with any excess amounts recovered the following year. Also as part of the approval, UTC separated utility profits from sales levels. The so-called “decoupling” allows the utility to recover fixed costs regardless of how much gas and electricity it sells.

June 27, 2013

Court Rejects Dodd-Frank Challenge

A U.S. District Court judge in Washington, DC, has dismissed a challenge by Bloomberg LP of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Dodd-Frank regulations of the multi-trillion over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market. At the same time, a coalition of associations urged the agency to maintain the $8 billion threshold for swap dealing activity that a participant may engage in before it becomes subject to the requirements.

June 17, 2013

District Judge Rejects Challenge to Dodd-Frank Regulations

A U.S. District Court judge in Washington, DC, on Friday dismissed Bloomberg LP’s challenge of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s (CFTC) Dodd-Frank regulations on the multi-trillion over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market.

June 11, 2013

API, Groups Ask Court to Stay SEC Disclosure Rule

The American Petroleum Institute (API) and a coalition of business groups have asked the appellate court in Washington, DC, to stay the Securities and Exchange (SEC) mandate requiring producers to publicly report how much they pay governments for access to oil, natural gas and minerals.

June 10, 2013

People

TravelCenters of America (TA) CEO Tom O’Brien is to deliver the opening keynote address June 25 at the 2013 Alternative Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in the Washington, DC, convention center June 24-27. TA is making what the ACT sponsors called significant investments to provide its customers with alternative fuel options, including natural gas. TA and Royal Dutch Shell plc in April announced plans to build a network of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fueling lanes at existing TA locations nationwide (see Daily GPI, April 22). Shell has committed to creating a “U.S. network of LNG fueling centers for heavy duty road transport customers” stretching from coast to coast. O’Brien is expected to add more color to the ongoing push of commercial trucking fleets to use alternative fuels.

May 30, 2013

Appeals Court Rejects Industry Challenge of SEC Reporting Rule

A federal court of appeals in Washington, DC, Friday dismissed an industry challenge to a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rule requiring producers to publicly report how much they pay governments for access to oil, natural gas and minerals.

April 29, 2013