Pipeline Projects: Preparing for FERC Certification, Addressing Environmental Impacts

Navigating the Certification and Environmental Review Processes for Pipelines

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017
Recorded event now available

This CLE webinar will provide guidance to companies involved in interstate gas pipeline projects on proceeding through the certification and environmental review processes. The panel will offer best practices for navigating pre-filing procedures, the federal review process, and compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Clean Water Act (CWA), National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Endangered Species Act (ESA), and other environmental statutes.


There is increased demand for new pipelines for natural gas. Federal, state, and local legal issues are often implicated when a pipeline is expanded or a new one is proposed. As part of the process to get an interstate gas pipeline project approved, companies must get Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) certification. The certification process includes pre-filing procedures and the analysis of potential environmental impacts. Many companies have had to resort to legal action in order to access properties to complete steps as part of the environmental review process.

Federal laws, including the NEPA, CWA, NHPA, and ESA, frequently are triggered in the pipeline approval process. Other regulatory entities, such as the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and state and local agencies, commonly are involved as well. This interagency review process may be long and arduous and often presents many hurdles which must be overcome to get a pipeline in service.

Listen as our authoritative panel examines the FERC certification process, including the pre-filing procedures, application process and identification of stakeholders. The panel will also examine issues related to environmental review, including NEPA review. The panel will offer best practices for navigating the certification and environmental review process.


  1. FERC certification process
    1. Pre-filing procedures
    2. Application process
    3. Identification of stakeholders
  2. Environmental review process
    1. NEPA review
    2. Other laws involved
      1. Clean Water Act
      2. Clean Air Act
      3. Endangered Species Act
      4. National Historic Preservation Act
      5. Coastal Zone Management Act
      6. Rivers and Harbors Act of 1899
  3. Best practices for navigating the certification process


The panel will review these and other key issues:

  • What are the critical steps of the FERC certification process?
  • What federal approvals and environmental reviews are necessary for a pipeline project to receive the final green light?
  • How can the FAST-41 permitting improvement Act be used to help coordinate multi-agency review of interstate pipeline projects?
  • What approaches can parties and counsel use to allocate risks and benefits, particularly in the face of potential third-party opposition to projects?
  • What are some recent trends in FERC certification and environmental review of interstate pipeline projects?
  • What are some best practices for project proponents to complete FERC certification and facilitate the federal environmental review process?
  • What impact could President Trump’s Executive Order Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects have on the FERC certification process?


Andrew T. Bockis, Partner
Saul Ewing, Harrisburg, Pa.

Mr. Bockis represents clients in matters related to environmental regulation and litigation, including government enforcement proceedings. His prior experience as Assistant Counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Pennsylvania Environmental Hearing Board adds significant perspective to his practice. Mr. Bockis frequently lectures on issues related to oil and gas regulation, erosion and sediment control and NPDES permitting, and environmental enforcement actions.

H. David Gold, Special Counsel
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Boston

Mr. Gold's practice focuses on environmental, energy and land use law. He represents clients in litigation, administrative appeals, mediation and transactional matters, and frequently counsels clients on compliance with state and federal clean water, wetlands, endangered species, cultural resources, and hazardous and solid waste laws. Mr. Gold has extensive experience in environmental impact analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act and its state analogues.

Sean T. O'Neill, Esq.
Saul Ewing, Philadelphia

Mr. O'Neill concentrates his practice on real estate and commercial litigation matters, with a particular focus on insurance litigation and the oil and gas industry. He represents natural gas pipeline companies in multistate and mid-stream pipeline projects, real estate development companies in zoning appeals and related litigation, and handles various landowner disputes. Mr. O’Neill also has significant experience in complex insurance coverage and reinsurance disputes, class actions against insurers, as well as defending ERISA claims for a Fortune 500 employee benefits company.

Raya B. Treiser, Esq.
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, Washington, D.C.

Ms. Treiser advises clients on a variety of environmental regulatory and natural resources matters. Ms. Treiser spent several years in the Department of the Interior and the White House, where she helped shape the policies that govern the development of energy and infrastructure projects on public lands and the Outer Continental Shelf. She was part of the core team responsible for the comprehensive reform of offshore drilling regulations following the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.


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Albert M. Cohen


Loeb & Loeb

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