Pursuant to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (“Commission” or “FERC”) November 7, 2017 Notice of Filing regarding a Motion to Show Cause (“Motion”) filed by the Kansas Corporation Commission (“KCC”), and Rule 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America (“INGAA”) respectfully submits this motion to intervene and associated comments.
INGAA is a trade association that advocates regulatory and legislative positions of importance to the natural gas pipeline industry in North America. INGAA’s 26 members represent the majority of interstate natural gas transmission pipeline companies in the United States. Its United States members are regulated by the Commission pursuant to the Natural Gas Act (“NGA”). INGAA’s members, which operate approximately 200,000 miles of pipelines and greater than 10,000 storage wells, serve as an indispensable link between natural gas producers and consumers.
MOTION TO INTERVENE
KCC’s motion petitions the Commission to compel Northern Natural Gas Company (“Northern”) to undertake specific remedial measures on production wells owned by third parties that intersect Northern’s Cunningham Storage Field. The relief requested by the KCC could impact INGAA members and operations of their respective underground natural gas storage facilities. Accordingly, as a representative of underground natural gas storage facility operators, INGAA has a direct and significant interest in the outcome of this proceeding, and such interest cannot be adequately represented or protected by any party hereto.
The Commission must reject the KCC’s Motion in this proceeding. KCC’s motion petitions the Commission to compel Northern to undertake specific remedial measures on abandoned production wells owned by third party producers purportedly to ensure safe operations of the Cunningham Storage Field. However, the relief sought by the KCC is contrary to Kansas state law, because the KCC has exclusive jurisdiction over the operation and abandonment of oil and natural gas production wells and can address the situation by exercising its jurisdiction accordingly by requiring the owners of the production wells to secure the wellbores. The FERC must not be inserted into a matter which the KCC can resolve, but has failed to do so. While the FERC continues to retain its exclusive authority related to the certification of underground natural gas storage facilities, Congress has directed PHMSA to issue minimum safety standards for the operation of underground natural gas storage facilities, and PHMSA has promulgated regulations in accordance with the Congressional direction. Therefore, the KCC should enforce its own abandonment regulations and additional direction from FERC on how Northern should manage the safety of its Cunningham Storage Field is unnecessary.