Item E-2 | Presentation 

FERC today unanimously approved a rule outlining how it plans to implement its limited authority over siting electricity transmission lines, as amended by Congress in 2021.

Today’s new rule, Order No. 1977, updates the process to be used in the limited circumstances when the Commission is called upon to exercise its siting authority. Order No. 1977 includes a Landowner Bill of Rights, codifies an Applicant Code of Conduct as one way for applicants to demonstrate good-faith efforts to engage with landowners in the permitting process, and directs applicants to develop engagement plans for outreach to environmental justice communities and Tribes.  The rule does not adopt the proposal to allow simultaneous processing of state and FERC siting applications. 

“As a former state regulator, I recognize the primary role of the states in siting transmission within their borders,” FERC Chairman Willie Phillips said. “This rule today follows the action of Congress in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 by updating the deliberative process for FERC in the event the Commission needs to act on a transmission siting request.”

The Landowner Bill of Rights notifies landowners who would be affected by a proposed transmission line of their right to intervene in any open Commission proceeding. A transmission line applicant must include a copy of the Landowner Bill of Rights with the pre-filing notification mailed to affected landowners.

Order No. 1977 also requires applicants to produce Tribal Resources Reports, which consolidate existing requirements for information describing effects on Tribes, Tribal lands and Tribal resources. Applicants must identify potentially affected Tribes and describe the impacts of project construction, operation and maintenance on Tribes and Tribal interests. Additionally, they must develop Tribal Engagement Plans that describe outreach activities that may affect Tribes.

The new rule requires applicants to develop Environmental Justice Public Engagement Plans describing outreach activities targeted at potentially affected environmental justice communities. This information will inform the new Environmental Justice Resource Reports that identify potentially affected environmental justice communities and describe the effects of project construction, operation and maintenance on those communities, including whether any impacts would be disproportionate and adverse.

Order No. 1977 will take effect 60 days after publication in the Federal Register.

This page was last updated on May 14, 2024