David Applebaum Quoted in POLITICO Pro on FERC Vacancies

POLITICO Pro has quoted Akin Gump energy regulation, markets and enforcement partner David Applebaum in “FERC struggles mount as seats remain empty,” regarding the vacancies at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) under President Trump—something the article describes as “unprecedented.” The situation, according to the article, has exacerbated uncertainty surrounding FERC’s work to protect energy markets against alleged manipulation.

Applebaum, who previously served as director of the Division of Investigations in FERC’s Office of Enforcement, said courts have not    decided the merits of any of the recent enforcement cases, but several recent procedural losses suggest that FERC leadership may want to reconsider how much effort they put into crafting their penalty decisions before heading to court. “Right now, the courts have not said anything to cast doubt on FERC’s theories,” he said, noting that every judge has so far shot attempts by FERC’s targets to dismiss the agency’s lawsuits.

Applebaum added that, while FERC lawyers handle the particulars of each case, commission leadership will have to debate any major change to its enforcement strategy, particularly if judges are going to force them to practically build the cases from scratch again anyway.

“The new commissioners are inevitably going to think about that,” said Applebaum. “It’s a very busy commission with many things to do — a huge amount of complicated matters before it. Do you want spend months and months and months with 100 pages of briefs and 100-page orders on an issue in light of these court rulings?”