Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) Chairman Richard Glick announced yesterday that the Commission has issued a public report outlining its work to establish the Office of Public Participation (OPP), which includes interim staffing of OPP to assist members of the public who wish to learn more about, and participate in, FERC proceedings. The Commission intends to hire OPP’s Director and other key personnel later this year.
The announcement marks FERC’s compliance with the congressional directive set forth in Section 319 of the Federal Power Act following months-long, outreach efforts during which the Commis-sion hosted six listening sessions, a full-day virtual Commissioner-led workshop, and a public comment period.
FERC’s plans are outlined in the report issued to-day, detailing the legal background of, and public feedback on, OPP. OPP’s proposed functions include direct outreach and education, procedural assistance, program office coordination to improve existing FERC processes, and counsel to the Commission on intervenor funding. The report outlines the plans for a multi-year phase-in to stand up the new office:
- By the end of fiscal year 2021, the Commission aims to hire the OPP Director and a Deputy.
- During fiscal year 2022, OPP’s initial operations will expand to provide support to the public on education, outreach, and assistance. OPP will also advise on an intervenor funding rulemaking.
- OPP will reach full operating capacity in fiscal year 2024.
“I am pleased to announce that FERC has established an Office of Public Participation, a step that is long overdue,” Chairman Glick said. “I am look-ing forward to finding a Director to lead this office and continuing to engage with the public on these essential issues.”
The public outreach leading up to the announcement was led by Commissioner Allison Clements and members of FERC’s staff. To develop OPP in a manner that would best serve the public and meet Congress’s directives, the Commission received and considered recommendations from affected members of the public and others interest-ed in the Commission’s decision-making process-es.
“Our process for establishing FERC’s new Office of Public Participation was driven by the desire to hear directly from the audience that the new office will serve – the public,” Commissioner Clements said.
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