FERC and MMS Clarify Jurisdictional Issues


After months of row between FERC and Mineral Management Services (MMS) under the Department of Interior over jurisdiction over renewable energy projects on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS), the two agencies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) yesterday that clarifies each agency's roles and responsibilities.Under the agreement, FERC will have the authority to issue licenses or exemptions to hydrokinetic projects on the OCS while MMS will be responsible for issuing leases, easements, and rights-of-way for such projects. MMS will be the federal agency with jurisdiction over non-hydrokinetic energy projects including wind and solar.Additionally, FERC cannot issue a license for a hydrokinetic project on the OCS until MMS issues a lease, easement or right-of-way for the same project. MMS will also have mandatory conditioning authority for hydrokinetic projects, meaning any terms and conditions set forth by MMS will have to be included in the license issued by FERC.However, both agencies will co-operate with each other while conducting NEPA analysis and preparing a NEPA document.FERC Chairman Jon Wellinghoff and DOI Secretary Ken Salazar signed the MoU yesterday. Find the joint press release and the MOU.