Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Federal Income Tax Rate American Forest & Paper Association, 29503-29506 [2021-11353]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 104 / Wednesday, June 2, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Implementation Guide, (WEQ Version 003.3, March 30, 2020); (xiv) WEQ–015, Measurement and Verification of Wholesale Electricity Demand Response (WEQ Version 003.3, March 30, 2020); (xv) WEQ–021, Measurement and Verification of Energy Efficiency Products (WEQ Version 003.3, March 30, 2020); (xvi) WEQ–022, Electric Industry Registry (WEQ Version 003.3, March 30, 2020); and 29503 (xvii) WEQ–023, Modeling. (WEQ Version 003.3, March 30, 2020). Note: The following appendix will not be published in the Code of Federal Regulations Appendix I STANDARDS AFFECTED BY THE REVISIONS TO IMPLEMENT RECOMMENDATIONS FOLLOWING SANDIA’S SURETY ASSESSMENT ON CYBERSECURITY Standard Revisions WEQ–000–1 Deleted seven abbreviations/acronyms ................................................... Added one abbreviation/acronym ............................................................. DNS—Domain Name Service. IPCP—Internet Protocol Control Protocol. NTP—Network Time Protocol. PPP—Point to Point Protocol. SLIP—Serial Line Internet Protocol. SNMP—Simple Network Management Protocol. SSL—Secure Sockets Layer. OWASP—Open Web Application Security Project. WEQ–001 Revised one standard .............................................................................. WEQ–001–13.1.3.3. WEQ–002 Revised 14 standards ............................................................................... [FR Doc. 2021–11352 Filed 6–1–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission 18 CFR Parts 154, 260, and 284 [Docket Nos. RM18–11–002 and RP18–415– 002; Order No. 849–B] Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Federal Income Tax Rate American Forest & Paper Association Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy. ACTION: Final rule. jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES AGENCY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Jun 01, 2021 Jkt 253001 rates in light of the income tax reductions provided by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Commission’s revised policy and precedent concerning tax allowances to address the double recovery issue identified by United Airlines, Inc. v. FERC. These procedures also allowed interstate natural gas pipelines to voluntarily reduce their rates. In this final rule, the Commission finds that there are no more expected filings that will make use of these special procedures, which are uniquely tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and that all existing proceedings under these procedures have closed. Therefore, the Commission removes the procedures from the Code of Federal Regulations as obsolete. DATES: This rule is effective August 2, 2021. Order No. 849 adopted procedures for determining which jurisdictional natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and unreasonable SUMMARY: WEQ–002–2.3. WEQ–002–2.4. WEQ–002–4.2.1.1. WEQ–002–4.2.1.2. WEQ–002–4.2.1.3. WEQ–002–4.2.2. WEQ–002–5. WEQ–002–5.1.1. WEQ–002–5.1.2. WEQ–002–5.1.3. WEQ–002–5.6. WEQ–002–101.2.3.1. WEQ–002–101.3.3.2. WEQ–002–101.3.3.3. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vince Mareino (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, 888 First PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502–6167, Vince.Mareino@ferc.gov. Laura Kane (Technical Information), Office of Energy Market Regulation, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502–8653, Laura.Kane@ferc.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: I. Background 1. On July 18, 2018, the Commission issued a final rule 1 (Order No. 849) adopting procedures for determining which jurisdictional natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and unreasonable rates in light of the income tax reductions provided by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act 2 and the Commission’s Revised Policy 1 Interstate & Intrastate Nat. Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Fed. Income Tax Rate, Order No. 849, 83 FR 36672 (July 30, 2018), 164 FERC ¶ 61,031 (2018). 2 An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018, Public Law 115–97, 131 Stat. 2054 (2017) (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). E:\FR\FM\02JNR1.SGM 02JNR1 29504 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 104 / Wednesday, June 2, 2021 / Rules and Regulations Statement 3 and precedent 4 concerning tax allowances to address the double recovery issue identified by United Airlines, Inc. v. FERC.5 These procedures also allowed interstate natural gas pipelines to voluntarily reduce their rates. On April 18, 2019, the Commission denied all outstanding requests for rehearing and reaffirmed the Commission’s determinations in Order No. 849 (Order No. 849–A).6 2. Order No. 849 established a requirement, pursuant to sections 10 and 14(a) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA),7 that all interstate natural gas companies with cost-based stated rates that filed a 2017 FERC Form No. 2 or 2–A must file the FERC Form No. 501–G informational filing for the purpose of evaluating the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the United Airlines Issuances on interstate natural gas pipelines’ revenue requirements. In addition to the FERC Form No. 501–G filing requirement, the Commission provided four options for each interstate natural gas pipeline to make a filing to address the changes to the pipeline’s recovery of tax costs or explain why no action is needed: (1) A limited NGA section 4 8 rate reduction filing (Option 1), (2) a commitment to file a general section 4 rate case or prepackaged settlement in the near future (Option 2), (3) an explanation why no rate change is needed (Option 3), and (4) no action (Option 4). These procedures were intended to encourage natural gas pipelines to voluntarily reduce their rates to the extent the tax changes result in their over-recovering their cost of service, while also providing the Commission and stakeholders information necessary to take targeted actions under NGA section 5 9 where necessary to achieve just and reasonable rates. 3. Order No. 849 made three changes to the Code of Federal Regulations. First, new § 260.402 of the Commission’s regulations established the FERC Form No. 501–G filing jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 3 Inquiry Regarding the Commission’s Policy for Recovery of Income Tax Costs, 81 FR 94366 (Dec. 23, 2016), 162 FERC ¶ 61,227 (Revised Policy Statement), order on reh’g, 83 FR 12362 (March 21, 2018), 164 FERC ¶ 61,030 (2018) (Revised Policy Statement Rehearing). 4 SFPP, L.P., Opinion No. 511–C, 162 FERC ¶ 61,228, at P 9 (2018). 5 827 F.3d 122 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (United Airlines). For purposes of this order, the Revised Policy Statement, United Airlines, and Opinion No. 511– C will collectively be referred to as ‘‘United Airlines Issuances.’’ 6 Interstate & Intrastate Nat. Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes Relating to Fed. Income Tax Rate, Order No. 849–A, 84 FR 17739 (April 26, 2019), 167 FERC ¶ 61,051 (2019). 7 15 U.S.C. 717i(a), 717m(a). 8 15 U.S.C. 717c. 9 15 U.S.C. 717d. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Jun 01, 2021 Jkt 253001 requirement described above.10 Second, new § 154.404 of the Commission’s regulations established the regulations necessary to govern Option 1, the limited NGA section 4 rate reduction filings.11 Options 2, 3, and 4 above did not require any change in regulations, as they could proceed under preexisting regulatory authority. Third, new § 284.123(i) of the Commission’s regulations provided procedures for section 311 of the National Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA) 12 and Hinshaw 13 pipelines to establish fair and equitable rates for their interstate services.14 II. Discussion 4. In Order No. 849, the Commission identified 129 interstate natural gas pipelines with cost-based rates that were required to file the FERC Form No. 501–G, codified in § 260.402. As of the date of Order No. 849–A, the Commission had received filings from all 129 identified pipelines.15 As of April 15, 2021, all of these FERC Form No. 501–G filings have been accepted for filing, and the proceedings terminated. Because Order No. 849 established a one-time reporting requirement tied to a past event, it would not apply to any new pipelines that may enter the market in the future. Therefore, the regulations implemented in Order No. 849 are no longer needed, and we hereby remove § 260.402 from the Commission’s regulations. 5. Eleven pipelines chose Option 1, codified in § 154.404. Under Option 1, pipelines could only choose to make these limited NGA section 4 rate reduction filings at the time of their FERC Form No. 501–G filings. Just as no new FERC Form No. 501–G filings are possible, likewise no new filings under § 154.404 are possible. 6. For any of these limited NGA section 4 rate reduction filings that proceeded to hearing, § 154.404 also governs the process by which these hearings are adjudicated, so it would not have been reasonable to remove § 154.404 before all the existing hearings concluded, either with the acceptance of a settlement or with the publication of an Initial Decision. There are no remaining dockets that are either in an 10 18 CFR 260.402. CFR 154.404. 12 15 U.S.C. 3371. 13 Section 1(c) of the NGA, 15 U.S.C. 717(c), exempts from the Commission’s NGA jurisdiction those pipelines which transport gas in interstate commerce if: (1) They receive natural gas at or within the boundary of a state, (2) all the gas is consumed within that state, and (3) the pipeline is regulated by a state Commission. This is known as the Hinshaw exemption. 14 18 CFR 284.123(i). 15 Order No. 849–A, 167 FERC ¶ 61,051 at P 4. 11 18 PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 Option 1 hearing or eligible to be set for an Option 1 hearing. As a result, the regulations governing this type of limited NGA section 4 rate reduction filings are no longer needed. We shall therefore remove § 154.404 of the Commission’s regulations. 7. Order No. 849 also established separate regulations under § 284.123(i) to address the unique jurisdictional situation of section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines, which have their interstate rates regulated by the Commission, but which are primarily regulated at the state level. Under pre-existing policy, the Commission reviews the rates of section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines every five years on a rolling basis.16 Section 284.123(i), in brief, provided a mechanism to lower these pipelines’ interstate rates prior to their five-year review, in the event that state government regulators also adjusted their rates in light of the recent changes in tax code and tax policy. In the threeand-a-half years from the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in November 2017 until the present, almost all section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines have either come before the Commission for their five-year review, or have come before the Commission for an out-ofcycle rate review, whether due to § 284.123(i), voluntary action, or the other requirements of section 284 of the Commission’s regulations that can compel an out-of-cycle rate review. The Commission, through its own review, finds it is unlikely that the remaining section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines will trigger § 284.123(i), and in any event all are due for their five-year review in the near future under the Commission’s preexisting policy. As a result, the special circumstances presented by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that required § 284.123(i) are no longer present. We shall therefore remove § 284.123(i) of the Commission’s regulations. III. Regulatory Requirements A. Information Collection Statement 8. The Paperwork Reduction Act 17 requires each Federal agency to seek and obtain the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) approval before undertaking a collection of information (including reporting, record keeping, and public disclosure requirements) 16 Contract Reporting Requirements of Intrastate Nat. Gas Cos., Order No. 735, 75 FR 29404 (May 26, 2010), 131 FERC ¶ 61,150, at P 96, order on reh’g, Order No. 735–A, 75 FR 80685 (Dec. 23, 2010), 133 FERC ¶ 61,216 (2010); see also Hattiesburg Indus. Gas Sales, L.L.C., 134 FERC ¶ 61,236 (2011) (imposing a five-year rate review requirement on Hattiesburg Industrial Gas Sales, L.L.C.). 17 44 U.S.C. 3501–3521. E:\FR\FM\02JNR1.SGM 02JNR1 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 104 / Wednesday, June 2, 2021 / Rules and Regulations directed to ten or more persons or contained in a rule of general applicability. OMB regulations require approval of certain information collection requirements contemplated by final rules (including deletion, revision, or implementation of new requirements). Upon approval of a collection of information, OMB will assign an OMB control number and an expiration date. Respondents subject to the filing requirements of a rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to the collection of information unless the collection of information displays a valid OMB control number. The following discussion describes and analyzes the collection of information to be deleted by this final rule. 9. Public Reporting Burden: In this final rule, the Commission eliminates FERC Form No. 501–G 18 (One-time Report on Rate Effect of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). This final rule eliminates an existing data collection, FERC–501G (OMB Control No. 1902–0302). Order No. 849 (in Docket No. RM18–11–000) allowed the Commission to determine which jurisdictional natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and unreasonable rates in light of the recent reduction in the corporate income tax rate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and changes to the Commission’s income tax allowance policies following the United Airlines decision. FERC Form No. 501– G collected information as to whether the pipeline was a pass-through entity. FERC Form No. 501–G collected income and balance sheet statement financial data from all NGA pipelines that have stated cost-based rates on file with the Commission. NGA pipelines whose rates were examined in a general rate case under section 4 of the NGA or in an investigation under section 5 of the 29505 NGA were not required to file FERC Form No. 501–G. 10. The Commission identified 129 interstate natural gas pipelines with cost-based rates that were required to file the adopted FERC Form No. 501–G. Interstate natural gas pipelines had four options as to how to address the results of the formula contained in the FERC Form No. 501–G. Each option has a different burden profile and a different cost per response. Companies made their own business decisions as to which option they selected. This final rule eliminates FERC Form No. 501–G which reduces burden on all applicants. 11. All burden from FERC Form No. 501–G has already been incurred. For informational purposes, the previous estimate of burden and cost for the nowcomplete FERC Form No. 501–G collection follows. FERC–501G—RATE CHANGES RELATING TO FEDERAL CORPORATE INCOME TAX RATE FOR INTERSTATE NATURAL GAS PIPELINES, TO BE ELIMINATED BY THE FINAL RULE IN DOCKET NO. RM18–11–002 Respondents Responses per respondent Total responses Average burden hour per response Average cost per response Total burden hours Total cost ($) (1) (2) (1) * (2) = (3) (4) (5) (1) * (4) = (6) (1) * (5) = (7) Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines With Cost-Based Rates FERC Form No. 501– G, One-time Report (reduction) 19 ............. 129 1 * 129 * 9 hrs. * $756 * 1,161 * $97,524 Optional Response No Response (reduction) ........................... Case for no change (reduction) ..................... Limited Sec 4 filing (reduction) 20 ................. General Sec. 4 filing (reduction) 21 ............. 51 0 0 0 0 0 0 62 1 62 5 420 310 26,040 15 1 15 6 504 90 7,560 1 1 1 22 512 42,968 512 42,968 NGPA Section 311 and Hinshaw Pipelines With Cost-Based Rates NGPA rate filing (reduction) 23 ....................... 24 15 1 15 24 2,015 360 30,225 Total, To Be Eliminated by RM18– 11–002 .............. 25 144 ........................ * 222 ........................ ........................ * 2,433 * 204,317 jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES * (reduction). 12. This final rule eliminates all information collection and recordkeeping requirements associated with RM18–11–000. The removal of the FERC–501G eliminates the estimated annual information collection burden (2,433 hours) and cost ($204,317) associated with FERC–501G (OMB Control No. 1902–0302). B. Environmental Analysis 18 FERC–501G has also been referenced as FERC Form No. 501–G. 19 18 CFR 260.402 (as revised). 20 18 CFR 154.404 (as revised). 21 18 CFR 154.312. 22 The estimate for hours is based on the estimated average hours per response for the FERC– 545 (OMB Control No. 1902–0154), with general NGA section 4, 18 CFR 154.312 filings weighted at a ratio of 20 to one. 23 18 CFR 284.123(i) (as revised). 24 Estimate of number of respondents assumes that states will act within one year to reduce NGPA section 311 and Hinshaw pipeline rates to reflect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. 25 Number of unique respondents = (One-time Report) + (NGPA rate filing). VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:29 Jun 01, 2021 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 13. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement E:\FR\FM\02JNR1.SGM 02JNR1 29506 Federal Register / Vol. 86, No. 104 / Wednesday, June 2, 2021 / Rules and Regulations for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human environment.26 The actions taken here fall within categorical exclusions in the Commission’s regulations for rules regarding information gathering, analysis, and dissemination.27 Therefore, an environmental review is unnecessary and has not been prepared in this rulemaking. C. Regulatory Flexibility Act 14. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) 28 generally requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that accomplish the stated objectives of a rulemaking while minimizing any significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. In lieu of preparing a regulatory flexibility analysis, an agency may certify that a final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.29 In Order No. 849, the Commission found that the institution of the new regulations would not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.30 Most of the natural gas pipelines regulated by the Commission do not fall within the RFA’s definition of a small entity.31 For the same reasons, removing these regulations will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. D. Document Availability 15. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the internet through the Commission’s Home Page (http:// www.ferc.gov). At this time, the Commission has suspended access to the Commission’s Public Reference Room due to the President’s March 13, 2020 proclamation declaring a National Emergency concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID–19). jbell on DSKJLSW7X2PROD with RULES 26 Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. & Regs. ¶ 30,783 (1987) (cross-referenced at 41 FERC ¶ 61,284). 27 See 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) and (a)(5). 28 5 U.S.C. 601–612. 29 5 U.S.C. 605(b). 30 Order No. 849, 164 FERC ¶ 61,031 at P 296. 31 In Order No. 849, the Commission determined 3.9% of the total potential NGA respondents and 5.1% of the total NGPA section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines could be considered a small entity. Eliminating the filing requirement would eliminate any burden and cost from FERC–501G for small and large entities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:10 Jun 01, 2021 Jkt 253001 16. From the Commission’s Home Page on the internet, this information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in the docket number field. 17. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission’s website during normal business hours from FERC Online Support at 202–502–6652 (toll free at 1–866–208–3676) or email at ferconlinesupport@ferc.gov, or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502– 8371, TTY (202) 502–8659. Email the Public Reference Room at public.referenceroom@ferc.gov. E. Effective Date and Congressional Notification 18. These regulations are effective August 2, 2021. This rule does not alter the substantive rights or interests of any interested persons, and it merely removes certain outdated and nonessential natural gas regulations from the Commission’s body of regulations on a prospective basis. Therefore, prior notice and comment under section 4 of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) 32 are unnecessary. The Commission has determined that this rule is not a ‘‘major rule’’ as defined in section 351 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996. List of Subjects Natural gas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. ■ [Removed] 2. Remove § 154.404. PART 260—STATEMENTS AND REPORTS (SCHEDULES) 3. The authority citation for part 260 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717–717w, 3301– 3432; 42 U.S.C. 7101–7352. § 260.402 ■ [Removed] 4. Remove § 260.402. PART 284—CERTAIN SALES AND TRANSPORTATION OF NATURAL GAS UNDER THE NATURAL GAS POLICY ACT OF 1978 AND RELATED AUTHORITIES 5. The authority citation for part 284 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717–717z, 3301– 3432; 42 U.S.C. 7101–7352; 43 U.S.C. 1331– 1356. § 284.123 ■ [Amended] 6. In § 284.123, remove paragraph (i). [FR Doc. 2021–11353 Filed 6–1–21; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6717–01–P DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE Continental shelf, Natural gas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. By the Commission. Issued: May 20, 2021. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission amends parts 154, 260, & 284, chapter I, title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as follows: U.S.C. 553(b). Sfmt 4700 [Docket No. DEA–658] Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice. ACTION: Final rule. AGENCY: 18 CFR Part 284 Fmt 4700 § 154.404 Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Remimazolam in Schedule IV 18 CFR Part 260 Frm 00024 Authority: 15 U.S.C. 717–717w; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7102–7352. 21 CFR Part 1308 Natural gas, Pipelines, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements. PO 00000 1. The authority citation for part 154 continues to read as follows: ■ Drug Enforcement Administration 18 CFR Part 154 32 5 PART 154—RATE SCHEDULES AND TARIFFS This final rule adopts, without change, an interim final rule with request for comments published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2020, placing the substance remimazolam, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, isomers, and salts of isomers is possible, in schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act. With the issuance of this final rule, DEA maintains remimazolam, including its salts, isomers, and salts of isomers whenever the existence of such salts, SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\02JNR1.SGM 02JNR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 104 (Wednesday, June 2, 2021)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 29503-29506]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-11353]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

18 CFR Parts 154, 260, and 284

[Docket Nos. RM18-11-002 and RP18-415-002; Order No. 849-B]


Interstate and Intrastate Natural Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes 
Relating to Federal Income Tax Rate American Forest & Paper Association

AGENCY: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: Order No. 849 adopted procedures for determining which 
jurisdictional natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and 
unreasonable rates in light of the income tax reductions provided by 
the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and the Commission's revised policy and 
precedent concerning tax allowances to address the double recovery 
issue identified by United Airlines, Inc. v. FERC. These procedures 
also allowed interstate natural gas pipelines to voluntarily reduce 
their rates. In this final rule, the Commission finds that there are no 
more expected filings that will make use of these special procedures, 
which are uniquely tied to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, and that all 
existing proceedings under these procedures have closed. Therefore, the 
Commission removes the procedures from the Code of Federal Regulations 
as obsolete.

DATES: This rule is effective August 2, 2021.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 
    Vince Mareino (Legal Information), Office of the General Counsel, 
888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-6167, 
[email protected].
    Laura Kane (Technical Information), Office of Energy Market 
Regulation, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, (202) 502-8653, 
[email protected].

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Background

    1. On July 18, 2018, the Commission issued a final rule \1\ (Order 
No. 849) adopting procedures for determining which jurisdictional 
natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and unreasonable rates 
in light of the income tax reductions provided by the Tax Cuts and Jobs 
Act \2\ and the Commission's Revised Policy

[[Page 29504]]

Statement \3\ and precedent \4\ concerning tax allowances to address 
the double recovery issue identified by United Airlines, Inc. v. 
FERC.\5\ These procedures also allowed interstate natural gas pipelines 
to voluntarily reduce their rates. On April 18, 2019, the Commission 
denied all outstanding requests for rehearing and reaffirmed the 
Commission's determinations in Order No. 849 (Order No. 849-A).\6\
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    \1\ Interstate & Intrastate Nat. Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes 
Relating to Fed. Income Tax Rate, Order No. 849, 83 FR 36672 (July 
30, 2018), 164 FERC ] 61,031 (2018).
    \2\ An Act to provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II 
and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 
2018, Public Law 115-97, 131 Stat. 2054 (2017) (Tax Cuts and Jobs 
Act).
    \3\ Inquiry Regarding the Commission's Policy for Recovery of 
Income Tax Costs, 81 FR 94366 (Dec. 23, 2016), 162 FERC ] 61,227 
(Revised Policy Statement), order on reh'g, 83 FR 12362 (March 21, 
2018), 164 FERC ] 61,030 (2018) (Revised Policy Statement 
Rehearing).
    \4\ SFPP, L.P., Opinion No. 511-C, 162 FERC ] 61,228, at P 9 
(2018).
    \5\ 827 F.3d 122 (D.C. Cir. 2016) (United Airlines). For 
purposes of this order, the Revised Policy Statement, United 
Airlines, and Opinion No. 511-C will collectively be referred to as 
``United Airlines Issuances.''
    \6\ Interstate & Intrastate Nat. Gas Pipelines; Rate Changes 
Relating to Fed. Income Tax Rate, Order No. 849-A, 84 FR 17739 
(April 26, 2019), 167 FERC ] 61,051 (2019).
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    2. Order No. 849 established a requirement, pursuant to sections 10 
and 14(a) of the Natural Gas Act (NGA),\7\ that all interstate natural 
gas companies with cost-based stated rates that filed a 2017 FERC Form 
No. 2 or 2-A must file the FERC Form No. 501-G informational filing for 
the purpose of evaluating the impact of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and 
the United Airlines Issuances on interstate natural gas pipelines' 
revenue requirements. In addition to the FERC Form No. 501-G filing 
requirement, the Commission provided four options for each interstate 
natural gas pipeline to make a filing to address the changes to the 
pipeline's recovery of tax costs or explain why no action is needed: 
(1) A limited NGA section 4 \8\ rate reduction filing (Option 1), (2) a 
commitment to file a general section 4 rate case or prepackaged 
settlement in the near future (Option 2), (3) an explanation why no 
rate change is needed (Option 3), and (4) no action (Option 4). These 
procedures were intended to encourage natural gas pipelines to 
voluntarily reduce their rates to the extent the tax changes result in 
their over-recovering their cost of service, while also providing the 
Commission and stakeholders information necessary to take targeted 
actions under NGA section 5 \9\ where necessary to achieve just and 
reasonable rates.
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    \7\ 15 U.S.C. 717i(a), 717m(a).
    \8\ 15 U.S.C. 717c.
    \9\ 15 U.S.C. 717d.
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    3. Order No. 849 made three changes to the Code of Federal 
Regulations. First, new Sec.  260.402 of the Commission's regulations 
established the FERC Form No. 501-G filing requirement described 
above.\10\ Second, new Sec.  154.404 of the Commission's regulations 
established the regulations necessary to govern Option 1, the limited 
NGA section 4 rate reduction filings.\11\ Options 2, 3, and 4 above did 
not require any change in regulations, as they could proceed under 
preexisting regulatory authority. Third, new Sec.  284.123(i) of the 
Commission's regulations provided procedures for section 311 of the 
National Gas Policy Act of 1978 (NGPA) \12\ and Hinshaw \13\ pipelines 
to establish fair and equitable rates for their interstate 
services.\14\
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    \10\ 18 CFR 260.402.
    \11\ 18 CFR 154.404.
    \12\ 15 U.S.C. 3371.
    \13\ Section 1(c) of the NGA, 15 U.S.C. 717(c), exempts from the 
Commission's NGA jurisdiction those pipelines which transport gas in 
interstate commerce if: (1) They receive natural gas at or within 
the boundary of a state, (2) all the gas is consumed within that 
state, and (3) the pipeline is regulated by a state Commission. This 
is known as the Hinshaw exemption.
    \14\ 18 CFR 284.123(i).
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II. Discussion

    4. In Order No. 849, the Commission identified 129 interstate 
natural gas pipelines with cost-based rates that were required to file 
the FERC Form No. 501-G, codified in Sec.  260.402. As of the date of 
Order No. 849-A, the Commission had received filings from all 129 
identified pipelines.\15\ As of April 15, 2021, all of these FERC Form 
No. 501-G filings have been accepted for filing, and the proceedings 
terminated. Because Order No. 849 established a one-time reporting 
requirement tied to a past event, it would not apply to any new 
pipelines that may enter the market in the future. Therefore, the 
regulations implemented in Order No. 849 are no longer needed, and we 
hereby remove Sec.  260.402 from the Commission's regulations.
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    \15\ Order No. 849-A, 167 FERC ] 61,051 at P 4.
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    5. Eleven pipelines chose Option 1, codified in Sec.  154.404. 
Under Option 1, pipelines could only choose to make these limited NGA 
section 4 rate reduction filings at the time of their FERC Form No. 
501-G filings. Just as no new FERC Form No. 501-G filings are possible, 
likewise no new filings under Sec.  154.404 are possible.
    6. For any of these limited NGA section 4 rate reduction filings 
that proceeded to hearing, Sec.  154.404 also governs the process by 
which these hearings are adjudicated, so it would not have been 
reasonable to remove Sec.  154.404 before all the existing hearings 
concluded, either with the acceptance of a settlement or with the 
publication of an Initial Decision. There are no remaining dockets that 
are either in an Option 1 hearing or eligible to be set for an Option 1 
hearing. As a result, the regulations governing this type of limited 
NGA section 4 rate reduction filings are no longer needed. We shall 
therefore remove Sec.  154.404 of the Commission's regulations.
    7. Order No. 849 also established separate regulations under Sec.  
284.123(i) to address the unique jurisdictional situation of section 
311 and Hinshaw pipelines, which have their interstate rates regulated 
by the Commission, but which are primarily regulated at the state 
level. Under pre-existing policy, the Commission reviews the rates of 
section 311 and Hinshaw pipelines every five years on a rolling 
basis.\16\ Section 284.123(i), in brief, provided a mechanism to lower 
these pipelines' interstate rates prior to their five-year review, in 
the event that state government regulators also adjusted their rates in 
light of the recent changes in tax code and tax policy. In the three-
and-a-half years from the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in 
November 2017 until the present, almost all section 311 and Hinshaw 
pipelines have either come before the Commission for their five-year 
review, or have come before the Commission for an out-of-cycle rate 
review, whether due to Sec.  284.123(i), voluntary action, or the other 
requirements of section 284 of the Commission's regulations that can 
compel an out-of-cycle rate review. The Commission, through its own 
review, finds it is unlikely that the remaining section 311 and Hinshaw 
pipelines will trigger Sec.  284.123(i), and in any event all are due 
for their five-year review in the near future under the Commission's 
pre-existing policy. As a result, the special circumstances presented 
by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that required Sec.  284.123(i) are no 
longer present. We shall therefore remove Sec.  284.123(i) of the 
Commission's regulations.
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    \16\ Contract Reporting Requirements of Intrastate Nat. Gas 
Cos., Order No. 735, 75 FR 29404 (May 26, 2010), 131 FERC ] 61,150, 
at P 96, order on reh'g, Order No. 735-A, 75 FR 80685 (Dec. 23, 
2010), 133 FERC ] 61,216 (2010); see also Hattiesburg Indus. Gas 
Sales, L.L.C., 134 FERC ] 61,236 (2011) (imposing a five-year rate 
review requirement on Hattiesburg Industrial Gas Sales, L.L.C.).
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III. Regulatory Requirements

A. Information Collection Statement

    8. The Paperwork Reduction Act \17\ requires each Federal agency to 
seek and obtain the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) approval 
before undertaking a collection of information (including reporting, 
record keeping, and public disclosure requirements)

[[Page 29505]]

directed to ten or more persons or contained in a rule of general 
applicability. OMB regulations require approval of certain information 
collection requirements contemplated by final rules (including 
deletion, revision, or implementation of new requirements). Upon 
approval of a collection of information, OMB will assign an OMB control 
number and an expiration date. Respondents subject to the filing 
requirements of a rule will not be penalized for failing to respond to 
the collection of information unless the collection of information 
displays a valid OMB control number. The following discussion describes 
and analyzes the collection of information to be deleted by this final 
rule.
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    \17\ 44 U.S.C. 3501-3521.
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    9. Public Reporting Burden: In this final rule, the Commission 
eliminates FERC Form No. 501-G \18\ (One-time Report on Rate Effect of 
the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act). This final rule eliminates an existing data 
collection, FERC-501G (OMB Control No. 1902-0302). Order No. 849 (in 
Docket No. RM18-11-000) allowed the Commission to determine which 
jurisdictional natural gas pipelines may be collecting unjust and 
unreasonable rates in light of the recent reduction in the corporate 
income tax rate in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and changes to the 
Commission's income tax allowance policies following the United 
Airlines decision. FERC Form No. 501-G collected information as to 
whether the pipeline was a pass-through entity. FERC Form No. 501-G 
collected income and balance sheet statement financial data from all 
NGA pipelines that have stated cost-based rates on file with the 
Commission. NGA pipelines whose rates were examined in a general rate 
case under section 4 of the NGA or in an investigation under section 5 
of the NGA were not required to file FERC Form No. 501-G.
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    \18\ FERC-501G has also been referenced as FERC Form No. 501-G.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    10. The Commission identified 129 interstate natural gas pipelines 
with cost-based rates that were required to file the adopted FERC Form 
No. 501-G. Interstate natural gas pipelines had four options as to how 
to address the results of the formula contained in the FERC Form No. 
501-G. Each option has a different burden profile and a different cost 
per response. Companies made their own business decisions as to which 
option they selected. This final rule eliminates FERC Form No. 501-G 
which reduces burden on all applicants.
    11. All burden from FERC Form No. 501-G has already been incurred. 
For informational purposes, the previous estimate of burden and cost 
for the now-complete FERC Form No. 501-G collection follows.

FERC-501G--Rate Changes Relating to Federal Corporate Income Tax Rate for Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines, To Be Eliminated by the Final Rule in Docket
                                                                     No. RM18-11-002
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                          Average burden
                                            Respondents    Responses per       Total         hour per      Average cost    Total burden   Total cost ($)
                                                            respondent       responses       response      per response        hours
                                                     (1)             (2)     (1) * (2) =             (4)             (5)     (1) * (4) =     (1) * (5) =
                                                                                     (3)                                             (6)             (7)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Interstate Natural Gas Pipelines With Cost-Based Rates
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
FERC Form No. 501-G, One-time Report                 129               1           * 129        * 9 hrs.          * $756         * 1,161       * $97,524
 (reduction) 19.........................
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                    Optional Response
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
No Response (reduction).................              51               0               0               0               0               0               0
Case for no change (reduction)..........              62               1              62               5             420             310          26,040
Limited Sec 4 filing (reduction) 20.....              15               1              15               6             504              90           7,560
General Sec. 4 filing (reduction) 21....               1               1               1          22 512          42,968             512          42,968
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                              NGPA Section 311 and Hinshaw Pipelines With Cost-Based Rates
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
NGPA rate filing (reduction) 23.........           24 15               1              15              24           2,015             360          30,225
                                         ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total, To Be Eliminated by RM18-11-           25 144  ..............           * 222  ..............  ..............         * 2,433       * 204,317
     002................................
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* (reduction).

    12. This final rule eliminates all information collection and 
recordkeeping requirements associated with RM18-11-000. The removal of 
the FERC-501G eliminates the estimated annual information collection 
burden (2,433 hours) and cost ($204,317) associated with FERC-501G (OMB 
Control No. 1902-0302).
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    \19\ 18 CFR 260.402 (as revised).
    \20\ 18 CFR 154.404 (as revised).
    \21\ 18 CFR 154.312.
    \22\ The estimate for hours is based on the estimated average 
hours per response for the FERC-545 (OMB Control No. 1902-0154), 
with general NGA section 4, 18 CFR 154.312 filings weighted at a 
ratio of 20 to one.
    \23\ 18 CFR 284.123(i) (as revised).
    \24\ Estimate of number of respondents assumes that states will 
act within one year to reduce NGPA section 311 and Hinshaw pipeline 
rates to reflect the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
    \25\ Number of unique respondents = (One-time Report) + (NGPA 
rate filing).
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B. Environmental Analysis

    13. The Commission is required to prepare an Environmental 
Assessment or an Environmental Impact Statement

[[Page 29506]]

for any action that may have a significant adverse effect on the human 
environment.\26\ The actions taken here fall within categorical 
exclusions in the Commission's regulations for rules regarding 
information gathering, analysis, and dissemination.\27\ Therefore, an 
environmental review is unnecessary and has not been prepared in this 
rulemaking.
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    \26\ Regulations Implementing the National Environmental Policy 
Act of 1969, Order No. 486, 52 FR 47897 (Dec. 17, 1987), FERC Stats. 
& Regs. ] 30,783 (1987) (cross-referenced at 41 FERC ] 61,284).
    \27\ See 18 CFR 380.4(a)(2)(ii) and (a)(5).
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C. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    14. The Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980 (RFA) \28\ generally 
requires a description and analysis of final rules that will have 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
The RFA mandates consideration of regulatory alternatives that 
accomplish the stated objectives of a rulemaking while minimizing any 
significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities. 
In lieu of preparing a regulatory flexibility analysis, an agency may 
certify that a final rule will not have a significant economic impact 
on a substantial number of small entities.\29\ In Order No. 849, the 
Commission found that the institution of the new regulations would not 
have a significant impact on a substantial number of small 
entities.\30\ Most of the natural gas pipelines regulated by the 
Commission do not fall within the RFA's definition of a small 
entity.\31\ For the same reasons, removing these regulations will not 
have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities.
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    \28\ 5 U.S.C. 601-612.
    \29\ 5 U.S.C. 605(b).
    \30\ Order No. 849, 164 FERC ] 61,031 at P 296.
    \31\ In Order No. 849, the Commission determined 3.9% of the 
total potential NGA respondents and 5.1% of the total NGPA section 
311 and Hinshaw pipelines could be considered a small entity. 
Eliminating the filing requirement would eliminate any burden and 
cost from FERC-501G for small and large entities.
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D. Document Availability

    15. In addition to publishing the full text of this document in the 
Federal Register, the Commission provides all interested persons an 
opportunity to view and/or print the contents of this document via the 
internet through the Commission's Home Page (http://www.ferc.gov). At 
this time, the Commission has suspended access to the Commission's 
Public Reference Room due to the President's March 13, 2020 
proclamation declaring a National Emergency concerning the Novel 
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
    16. From the Commission's Home Page on the internet, this 
information is available on eLibrary. The full text of this document is 
available on eLibrary in PDF and Microsoft Word format for viewing, 
printing, and/or downloading. To access this document in eLibrary, type 
the docket number excluding the last three digits of this document in 
the docket number field.
    17. User assistance is available for eLibrary and the Commission's 
website during normal business hours from FERC Online Support at 202-
502-6652 (toll free at 1-866-208-3676) or email at 
[email protected], or the Public Reference Room at (202) 502-
8371, TTY (202) 502-8659. Email the Public Reference Room at 
[email protected].

E. Effective Date and Congressional Notification

    18. These regulations are effective August 2, 2021. This rule does 
not alter the substantive rights or interests of any interested 
persons, and it merely removes certain outdated and nonessential 
natural gas regulations from the Commission's body of regulations on a 
prospective basis. Therefore, prior notice and comment under section 4 
of the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) \32\ are unnecessary. The 
Commission has determined that this rule is not a ``major rule'' as 
defined in section 351 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement 
Fairness Act of 1996.
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    \32\ 5 U.S.C. 553(b).
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List of Subjects

18 CFR Part 154

    Natural gas, Pipelines, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

18 CFR Part 260

    Natural gas, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

18 CFR Part 284

    Continental shelf, Natural gas, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements.

    By the Commission.

    Issued: May 20, 2021.
Kimberly D. Bose,
Secretary.

    In consideration of the foregoing, the Commission amends parts 154, 
260, & 284, chapter I, title 18, Code of Federal Regulations, as 
follows:

PART 154--RATE SCHEDULES AND TARIFFS

0
1. The authority citation for part 154 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 717-717w; 31 U.S.C. 9701; 42 U.S.C. 7102-
7352.


Sec.  154.404  [Removed]

0
2. Remove Sec.  154.404.

PART 260--STATEMENTS AND REPORTS (SCHEDULES)

0
3. The authority citation for part 260 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 717-717w, 3301-3432; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352.


Sec.  260.402  [Removed]

0
4. Remove Sec.  260.402.

PART 284--CERTAIN SALES AND TRANSPORTATION OF NATURAL GAS UNDER THE 
NATURAL GAS POLICY ACT OF 1978 AND RELATED AUTHORITIES

0
5. The authority citation for part 284 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 717-717z, 3301-3432; 42 U.S.C. 7101-7352; 
43 U.S.C. 1331-1356.


Sec.  284.123  [Amended]

0
6. In Sec.  284.123, remove paragraph (i).

[FR Doc. 2021-11353 Filed 6-1-21; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6717-01-P