FERC issues NOPR to restrict information sharing for critical electric infrastructure

Sept. 10, 2002 — The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week released a notice of proposed rulemaking on regulations to restrict public availability of critical energy infrastructure information.

The NOPR (docket no. RM02-4-000 and PL02-1-000), called “Statement of Policy on Treatment of Previously Public Documents,” is available in the Federal Register as the listing 66 FR 52917.

FERC is proposing to revise its regulations to restrict public availability of critical energy infrastructure information.

The commission issued a policy statement in Docket No. PL02-1-000 on October 11, 2001, removing from easy public access previously public documents that detail the specifications of energy facilities licensed or certificated by the commission.

The commission is revising this policy to include documents that detail specifications of proposed energy facilities as well. The original policy statement directed requesters seeking this information to follow the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) procedures found at 18 CFR 388.108.

Specifically, the commission proposes to change its regulations to restrict unfettered general public access to critical energy infrastructure information, but still permit those with a need for the information to obtain it in an efficient manner. The proposed new access procedures complement existing rights under Docket Nos. RM02-4-000 and PL02-1-000 the FOIA.

Requesters retain the right to file a FOIA request for any information not available through the Public Reference Room, the Internet, or publicly-accessible databases. The commission also proposes establishment of a Critical Energy Infrastructure Information Coordinator to process and make decisions on non-FOIA requests for critical energy infrastructure information.

An important objective of the proposed rule is the reconciliation of the commission’s regulatory responsibilities under its enabling statutes and federal environmental laws and the need to protect the safety and well being of American citizens from attacks on our nation’s energy infrastructure.

Under the proposal, new sections will be added to Parts 375 and 388 of Title 18 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and 18 CFR 388.112 will be revised to implement the new procedures.

DATES: Comments are due 30 days from the date that the notice was published in the Federal Register.

ADDRESSES: File written comments with the Office of the Secretary, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20426. Comments should reference Docket Nos. RM02-4-000 and PL02-1-000.

Comments may be filed electronically or by paper (an original and 14 copies, with an accompanying computer diskette in the prescribed format requested).

Docket Nos. RM02-4-000 and PL02-1-000


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