The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission) has issued a final rule establishing a procedure for gaining access to critical energy infrastructure information (CEII) that would otherwise not be available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). These restrictions and the final rule were necessitated by the terrorist acts committed on September 11, 2001, and the ongoing terrorism threat. The final rule adopts a definition of critical infrastructure that explicitly covers proposed facilities, and does not distinguish among projects or portions of projects. The rule also details which location information is excluded from the definition of CEII and which is included. The rule addresses some issues that are specific to state agencies, and clarifies that energy market consultants should be able to get access to the CEII they need. Finally, the rule modifies the proposed CEII process and delegates responsibility to the CEII Coordinator to process requests for CEII and to determine what information qualifies as CEII.
The final rule will affect the way in which companies submit some information, and will add a new process in addition to the FOIA for requesters to use to request information that is not already publicly available. These new steps will help keep sensitive infrastructure information out of the public domain, decreasing the likelihood that such information could be used to plan or execute terrorist attacks.
The rule will become effective April 2, 2003. For further information, contact Carol C. Johnson, Wilbur T. Miller, Office of the General Counsel, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street, NE., Washington, DC 20426. (202) 502-6457. The full rule can be downloaded from RCP’s website here through the DOT Gateway.