On Tuesday, February 7, 2023, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) within the White House Office of Management and Budget issued a set of recommendations for broadening public engagement in the federal regulatory process and invited public input on the recommendations through March 10, 2023. The recommendations were developed in response to a commitment to support greater public engagement in the rulemaking process included in the Fifth U.S. Open Government National Action Plan released December 2022. OIRA stated that the recommendations were informed by written submissions and a public engagement session held in November 2022. Thus, OIRA’s solicitation for public input on the recommendations provides a unique opportunity for stakeholders to potentially shape future federal regulatory reform actions.
On February 2, 2023, the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources convened a full committee hearing to examine the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) implementation of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA). The sole witness during the hearing was David Turk, DOE Deputy Secretary. During his remarks, Deputy Secretary Turk noted that the IIJA provided more than $62 billion in funding to DOE and requires DOE to develop 60 new programs and expand funding for 12 existing programs. Deputy Secretary Turks stated that as of January 30, 2023, DOE had solicited 50 Requests for Information for public input on IIJA program design, released 38 Funding Opportunity Announcements worth more than $37 billion in initial investments for IIJA programs, conditionally awarded $1.1 billion in zero-emission energy generation credits, and made available $4.25 billion in formula funding for energy efficiency improvements to state and local governments and tribal nations. With respect to electric transmission, the DOE Grid Deployment Office announced its first Request for Proposals regarding the Transmission Facilitation Program, a $2.5 billion revolving fund program that will help develop new large-scale transmission lines and upgrade existing transmission.
On September 22, 2022, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NOPR) regarding Incentives for Advanced Cybersecurity Investment, requesting comment on proposed revisions to regulations implementing the Federal Power Act (FPA). The revisions would provide incentive-based rate treatments for the transmission of electric energy in interstate commerce and the sale of electric energy at wholesale in interstate commerce by utilities for certain voluntary cybersecurity investments. The NOPR was issued in response to a Congressional mandate set forth in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021, which directed FERC to establish cybersecurity incentives that would encourage investments by utilities in advanced cybersecurity technology and participation in cybersecurity threat information sharing programs. This NOPR replaces a prior cybersecurity incentives NOPR from December 2020.