Julia Sullivan Talks to Law360 About FERC Trader Licenses

Akin Gump energy regulation, markets and enforcement practice co-head Julia Sullivan was quoted by Law360 for its article “FERC Trader Licensing Could Be Enforcement Hammer” on plans being developed by commissioners of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to “license traders and other participants in energy markets the commission regulates.”

Regarding the licensing scheme’s potential boost to FERC enforcement authority, Sullivan noted, “If an enforcement agency can drive a wedge between an individual and a company, it will do that, in order to get the individual to cooperate. FERC hasn't been particularly successful in getting individuals to cooperate and give them information on their employers. If FERC can take away an individual's livelihood by taking away their ability to do what they can do for any company, that's a pretty big hammer.”

Discussing the extent to which licensing requirements would bring the FERC to parity with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, with which it has undefined jurisdictional overlap, she said, “If you have two agencies with concurrent jurisdiction and you're trying to decide which one to move forward with, one factor you would consider is what agency has more power to go after the violator. I think institutionally, FERC would want to achieve parity with the CFTC within that area of concurrent jurisdiction.”

However, Sullivan also notes that it is still unclear whether FERC has authority to implement the licensing rules it is contemplating: “It would most certainly be challenged and the courts would certainly have to decide that issue.”

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