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People ex rel. Harris v. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

December 17, 2015

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA, EX REL. KAMALA D. HARRIS, ATTORNEY GENERAL; PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA; SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON CO., Petitioners,
v.
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, Respondent, CARGILL POWER MARKETS, LLC; EL PASO MARKETING COMPANY, LLC; EXELON GENERATION COMPANY, LLC; IDACORP ENERGY SERVICES COMPANY; IDAHO POWER COMPANY; TALEN MONTANA, LLC; TALEN ENERGY MARKETING, LLC; PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY OF COLORADO; SHELL ENERGY NORTH AMERICA (U.S.), L.P.; TRANSCANADA ENERGY LTD., Respondents-Intervenors. THE CITY OF SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, Petitioner, PORTLAND GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY; DYNEGY POWER MARKETING; MPS MERCHANT SERVICES, INC; MPS CANADA CORP., Intervenors,
v.
FEDERAL ENERGY REGULATORY COMMISSION, Respondent, TALEN MONTANA, LLC; TALEN ENERGY MARKETING, LLC; TRANSALTA ENERGY MARKETING (U.S.), INC.; TRANSALTA ENERGY MARKETING (CALIFORNIA), INC.; EL PASO MARKETING COMPANY, LLC, Respondents-Intervenors

Argued and Submitted June 16, 2015, San Francisco, California

Page 492

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 493

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 494

On Petition for Review of an Order of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. FERC No. EL01-10-076. FERC No. EL01-10-076.

SUMMARY[*]

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The panel denied a petition for review from a decision of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (" FERC" ) with respect to petitioners' claim that the Mobile-Sierra presumption, which requires FERC to presume that the rate set in a freely negotiated wholesale-energy contract was just and reasonable, cannot apply to the spot sales at issue; and dismissed evidentiary challenges for lack of jurisdiction.

The panel held that there was jurisdiction to review FERC's decision to employ the Mobile-Sierra presumption in the class of contracts at issue because, pursuant to the inquiry in Steamboaters v. FERC, 759 F.2d 1382 (9th Cir. 1985), the test for final action under the Federal Power Act was met. The panel held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider the individual evidentiary restrictions raised in these cases because they were interim rulings whose consequences could not be determined with any finality at this juncture.

The panel held that FERC reasonably applied the Mobile-Sierra presumption to the class of contracts at issue in these cases.

Kevin J. McKeon (argued), Judith D. Cassel, Whitney E. Snyder, Hawke McKeon & Sniscak LLP, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General of California, Mark Breckler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Martin Goyette, Senior Assistant Attorney General, San Francisco, California; David M. Gustafson, Deputy Attorney General, Oakland, California, for Petitioner People of the State of California ex rel. Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General.

Candace J. Morey, Sarah R. Thomas, Public Utilities Commission of the State of California, San Francisco, California; Paul B. Mohler, Law Offices of Paul B. Mohler, PLC, Washington, D.C., for Petitioner Public Utilities Commission of the State of California.

Rex S. Heinke (argued), Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Los Angeles, California; Jerry E. Rothrock, Moyers Martin, LLP, Tulsa, Oklahoma; Gregory C. Narver, Seattle City Attorney's Office, Seattle, Washington, for Petitioner City of Seattle.

David L. Morenoff, General Counsel, Robert H. Solomon, Solicitor, Lona T. Perry (argued), Deputy Solicitor, Susanna Y. Chu, Attorney, Washington, D.C., for Respondent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

Lawrence G. Acker, Van Ness Feldman, LLP, Washington, D.C.; Rex Blackburn, Brian R. Buckham, Idaho Power Company, Boise, Idaho, for Respondents-Intervenors Idaho Power Company and IDACORP Energy Services Co.

Floyd L. Norton, IV, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Washington, DC, for Respondents-Intervenors Cargill Power Markets, LLC and Public Service Company of Colorado.

Andrea J. Chambers, Katharine E. Leesman, Ballard Spahr LLP, Washington, D.C., for Respondent-Intervenor Exelon Generation Company, LLC.

Joseph B. Williams, Matthew D. Spohn, Ryan C. Norfolk, Norton Rose Fulbright U.S. LLP, Washington, D.C., for Respondent-Intervenor El Paso Marketing Company, LLC.

Jeffrey D. Watkiss, McDermott Will & Emery, LLP, Washington, D.C., for Respondent-Intervenor Shell Energy North America (U.S.), L.P.

Damien R. Lyster, Vinson & Elkins LLP, Washington, D.C., for Respondents-Intervenors TansAlta Energy Marketing (U.S.) Inc. and TransAlta Energy Marketing (California) Inc.

Kenneth L. Wiseman (argued), Mark F. Sundback, Andrews Kurth, LLP, Washington, D.C., for Rrespondent-Intervenor TransCanada Energy Ltd.

Before: Sidney R. Thomas, Chief Judge, and M. Margaret McKeown and Richard R. Clifton, ...


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