PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • October 10, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units”. The NPRM would rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power generation sector sources, namely coal and natural gas power plants.

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  • May 16, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On May 8, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum titled “Guidance for Section 2 of Executive Order 13783, titled ‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth’”. E.O. 13783 directs federal agencies to review, and potentially suspend, revise or repeal, existing regulations that “burden domestic energy production.”

     

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  • April 19, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On April 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments “on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” The notice is part of the EPA’s efforts to implement the Executive Order titled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda” (E.O. 13777), which was signed by President Trump on February 24, 2017. The deadline for submitting public comments is May 15, 2017. EPA offices will also be conducting public forums on regulatory reform over the next four weeks. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order (E.O. 13771) which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate.

     

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W&J Publications

Insights on Current Policy Issues

By Frank Vlossak

On October 1, the Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) released the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of Hazardous Liquid Pipelines.” The NPRM proposes significant new requirements for operators of crude oil, refined product and other hazardous liquid pipelines, including requirements to: conduct integrity assessments for all pipeline segments; repair defects found at any location within set deadlines; and install leak detection systems on all new pipelines. Public comments on the NPRM must be submitted by January 8, 2016. PHMSA officials have also indicated that the NPRM will be subject to discussion at the next meeting of the Liquid Pipeline Advisory Committee, which may be held before the end of the year.

 

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By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, and Rebecca Konst

On April 5, 2012, the Jumpstart Our Business Startups (JOBS) Act was signed into law. The Act requires the SEC “to write rules and issue studies on capital formation, disclosure and registration requirements.” Section 106(b) of the JOBS Act required the SEC to conduct a study and report to Congress on “how decimalization affected the number of initial public offerings (IPOs) and the liquidity and trading of smaller capitalization company securities.” This memo highlights the implementation dates and progress made thus far.

 

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Frank Vlossak

On September 18, Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration (PHMSA) Administrator Marie Theresa Dominguez told the Senate Commerce Committee that the agency anticipates publication of the hazardous liquid pipeline safety Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) within the next week. PHMSA began the process of developing this NPRM in 2010, with publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) titled “Pipeline Safety: Safety of On-Shore Hazardous Liquid Pipelines”. PHMSA stated that it is “considering whether changes are needed to the regulations covering hazardous liquid onshore pipelines.”

 

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By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, and Hanna Laver

On July 20, the U.S. Treasury Department published a Request for Information (RFI) in the Federal Register soliciting industry feedback regarding the rapidly growing online lending marketplace. The Department defines online marketplace lending as “the segment of the financial services industry that uses investment capital and data-driven online platforms to lend to small businesses and consumers.” Specifically, Treasury is seeking public comment on: (i) the various business models of, and products offered by, online marketplace lenders to small businesses and consumers; (ii) the potential for online marketplace lending to expand access to credit to historically underserved market segments; and (iii) how the financial regulatory framework should evolve to support the safe growth of this industry.

 

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By Frank Vlossak

On July 10, PHMSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Operator Qualification, Cost Recovery, Accident and Incident Notification, and Other Pipeline Safety Proposed Changes”. The NPRM would: establish new requirements for certain pipeline employee qualifications; require that pipelines notify the National Response Center “as soon as practicable” following “confirmed discovery” of a covered incident; establish a process for recovering costs for safety review of new projects that cost more than $2.5 billion or employ new technologies; require notification to PHMSA of pipeline flow reversals and changes to the type of product transported; incorporate by reference industry standards on inline inspections and stress corrosion cracking direct assessment (SSCDA); and implement other changes to pipeline safety regulations. Comments are due on August 8, 2015.

 

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By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald, and Hanna Laver

On December 10, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed the insider trading convictions of two former hedge fund managers. The court held an individual can only be convicted of insider trading for trading on confidential information if he or she knew the original tipper disclosed it in exchange for a personal benefit. The Court denied a request for an en banc rehearing on April 3, 2015. The only remaining option is to appeal to the Supreme Court, but legal analysts assert that is unlikely. A recent U.S. District Court decision applying the Second Circuit ruling requires the SEC meet a tougher standard at trial for what constitutes insider trading. Judge Jed Rakoff also suggested Congress should formally define insider trading, saying “if unlawful insider trading is to be properly deterred, it must be adequately defined.” In light of the December ruling, several bills were introduced in Congress that would modify the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to strengthen its prohibitions on trading on material or inside information.  

 

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By Frank Vlossak.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has begun an effort to develop requirements for hazardous liquid pipeline operators to verify the integrity and maximum operating pressure of their pipelines. The initiative is based on a parallel effort targeting natural gas pipelines. PHMSA has not yet developed the integrity verification process (IVP) proposal as a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), however the details provided in a draft flow chart indicate the requirements of a rule could be significant. 

 

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By David E. Franasiak, Joel G. Oswald and Rebecca L. Konst

On November 17, 2014 the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board (MSRB) released companion proposals to “require disclosure of pricing reference information on customer confirmations for transactions in fixed income securities.” The MSRB proposal covers municipal bonds and the FINRA proposal covers fixed income securities in general. FINRA and the MSRB are taking a coordinated approach to this rulemaking and their proposals are substantially similar though apply to their different portions of the market.    


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By Frank Vlossak.

In the next two weeks, both the House and Senate are expected to take up legislation to approve TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline. With 60 or more Senators expected to vote to invoke cloture and end any filibuster, both chambers are on track to approve the legislation. It is likely however that President Obama will veto the bill, although the Administration has yet to explicitly threaten such action. If the President vetoes the bill, it is unlikely that proponents have sufficient votes to override the veto.  

 

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Follow the results on Election Night with the Williams & Jensen 2014 Midterm Election Guide. The Guide includes all Senate, House and governors’ races, as well as sections highlighting the most competitive election contests and a guide to state poll closing times.



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PublicationsInsights on Current Policy Issues

  • October 10, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On October 10, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt signed a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) titled “Repeal of Carbon Pollution Emission Guidelines for Existing Stationary Sources: Electric Generating Units”. The NPRM would rescind the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), a rule that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from existing power generation sector sources, namely coal and natural gas power plants.

    Read...

    Read More
  • May 16, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On May 8, 2017, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued a memorandum titled “Guidance for Section 2 of Executive Order 13783, titled ‘Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth’”. E.O. 13783 directs federal agencies to review, and potentially suspend, revise or repeal, existing regulations that “burden domestic energy production.”

     

    Read...

    Read More
  • April 19, 2017

    By Frank Vlossak

    On April 13, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a notice in the Federal Register soliciting public comments “on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification.” The notice is part of the EPA’s efforts to implement the Executive Order titled “Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda” (E.O. 13777), which was signed by President Trump on February 24, 2017. The deadline for submitting public comments is May 15, 2017. EPA offices will also be conducting public forums on regulatory reform over the next four weeks. The Executive Order establishes mechanisms intended to reduce regulations, including by implementing the President’s January 30, 2017 Executive Order (E.O. 13771) which calls for agencies to eliminate two regulations for each new regulation they promulgate.

     

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