Howard L. Nelson

Howard L. Nelson

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Howard L. Nelson has more than 30 years of regulatory and litigation experience, the majority of which has been related to energy matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), state public utility commissions and the Court of Appeals. His litigation experience includes representing several major interstate natural gas pipelines in agency hearings involving complex multiparty major rate cases, and in certificate, restructuring, tariff, gas quality, merger and interconnection proceedings. He also advises clients on all aspects of natural gas and oil pipeline regulation, including project development, the design of transportation and storage services and rates, negotiating and drafting contracts, strategic planning, and ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Howard has also assisted clients on regulatory authorizations and issues concerning liquefied natural gas facilities and electric matters. Finally, Howard represented customers of both natural gas and petroleum products pipelines and electric utilities and has briefed and argued several cases at the D.C. Circuit and 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Concentrations

  • Energy litigation
  • Energy regulation
  • Global Energy & Infrastructure
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Capabilities

Experience

  • Represented major interstate pipelines in multi-party rate case proceedings and related appeals.
  • Lead counsel in appeal of affiliate standards of conduct rulemaking on behalf of interstate natural gas pipeline trade association. Briefed and argued case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit resulting in Court reversal of industry-wide rules.
  • Lead counsel in appeal of FERC policy regarding the make-up of proxy groups for purposes of setting pipeline rates of return. Secured reversal of FERC exclusion of master limited partnerships (MLPs) from the proxy group.
  • Representing pipeline trade association in proceedings involving income tax allowance for MLPs and other pass-through entities.
  • Represented pipeline trade association in “modernization” rulemaking allowing pipelines to recover capital costs of construction needed for safety and environmental compliance outside of general Section 4 rate case.
  • Representation of LNG Terminal and pipeline projects seeking authorizations under Section 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act to construct and operate LNG import/export and related facilities.
  • Represented pipelines in interconnecting pipeline proceedings involving gas quality/LNG interchangeability issues.
  • Represented pipelines in fuel and lost and unaccounted for gas proceedings.
  • Represented pipelines in state regulatory proceedings regarding various issues, including LDC construction and associated cost recovery.
  • Represented interstate gas pipeline in "cashout" hearing, defended against allegations of imprudent gas purchasing practices and mismanagement of storage assets.
  • Represented interstate gas pipeline in defense of shipper claims to proceeds from sale of “excess” gas from storage and damages resulting from pipeline’s use of its own storage capacity.
  • Advised Brazilian natural gas storage company on regulation of natural gas storage in the United States and internationally. 
  • Represented pipeline in proceedings to recover cost of gas that leaked from storage facilities.
  • Represented pipeline interests in preserving and strengthening shipper creditworthiness standards before the FERC, Court of Appeals and the North American Energy Standards Board (NAESB) in the aftermath of Enron bankruptcy.
  • Obtained an order, after hearing, requiring another natural gas pipeline to interconnect with client's pipeline facilities.
  • Represented interstate natural gas pipelines and shippers in proceedings to establish gas quality standards in pipelines' tariff.
  • Represented parties seeking alternate route for major pipeline project in certificate proceeding.
  • Represent electric generators in market-based rate, QF and Section 203 filings.
  • Represented customers of electric utility seeking greater transmission access in a merger proceeding under Section 203 of the Federal Power Act and assisted companies to comply with Section 203’s filing requirements.
  • Represented independent power producers in matter involving anti-competitive bidding requirements in capacity auctions.
  • Obtained rare acquittal of tax protestor charged with tax evasion and failure to file tax returns.

Recognition & Leadership

  • Listed, The Best Lawyers in America, Energy Law; Oil and Gas Law, 2018-2019
  • Listed, Chambers USA Guide, 2007-2018
  • Listed, Chambers Global, Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation), 2018
  • Listed, The Legal 500 United States, 2015-2018
    • Energy – Regulatory, 2015-2018
    • Energy – Transactions, 2015-2017
  • Listed, Euromoney’s Expert Guide to the World’s Leading Experts in Energy Law, 2015-2018
  • Team Member, a Law360 "Appellate Practice Group of the Year," 2010
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Member, District of Columbia Bar Association
  • Member, Energy Bar Association
  • Member, Maryland Bar Association

Credentials

Education
  • J.D., American University Washington College of Law, 1981
  • B.A., cum laude, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1978
  • B.S., cum laude, State University of New York at Buffalo, 1978
Admissions
  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland