Overview

For more than 20 years, John has represented public utility energy suppliers and transmission owners, regional transmission organizations, state agencies, large industrial concerns, and other electric power and natural gas market participants in a wide variety of complex regulatory litigation, certification, and enforcement matters before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and federal courts. From 2018-2022, John served as Director of Legal Policy at FERC, where he advised three Chairmen and several Commissioners on the implementation of energy policy through administrative and appellate litigation. His responsibilities included drafting orders, facilitating negotiations, managing external litigation, and drafting briefs and arguing cases in matters before the Supreme Court, appellate courts, district courts, and bankruptcy courts. John’s ongoing work in private practice continues to emphasize energy and capacity market design, transmission incentives and cost allocation, pipeline certification and abandonment, hydroelectric licensing, Mobile-Sierra issues, waivers, civil enforcement matters before FERC and federal courts.

John is a retired U.S. Army combat veteran and devotes significant pro bono time to disabled veteran and guardian ad litem matters. In addition to his work representing clients, John has been an Adjunct Professor of Energy Law and Appellate Advocacy at The George Washington University Law School since 2016. Prior to law school and his active duty service in the Army, John served as a legislative aide in the Alaska State Senate while teaching history and Russian at the University of Alaska.

Experience

  • Represents clients in a wide variety of regulatory matters, including litigation and rulemaking proceedings before FERC, with an emphasis on appellate litigation in the federal appellate courts and the Supreme Court. See, e.g., PennEast Pipeline Co., LLC v. New Jersey, 594 U.S. 482 (2021) (condemnation of state-owned property pursuant to pipeline certification under Natural Gas Act); PJM Power Providers v. FERC, 88 F.4th 250 (3d Cir. 2023) (consequences of tied votes at FERC); Evergy Kansas Cent., Inc. v. FERC, 77 F.4th 1050 (D.C. Cir. 2023) (zonal cost allocation); FERC v. Elec. Power Supply Ass’n, 577 U.S. 260 (2016) (Demand Response); NRG Power Mktg., LLC v. Me. Pub. Utils. Comm’n, 558 U.S. 165 (2010) (Mobile-Sierra protection for settlements); Gas & Elec. Co. v. FERC, 829 Fed. Appx. 751 (9th Cir. 2020) (bankruptcy jurisdiction); In re FirstEnergy Solutions Corp., 945 F.3d 431 (6th Cir. 2019) (bankruptcy jurisdiction); NextEra Energy Res., LLC v. FERC, 898 F.3d 14 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (renewable resource exemptions); Northwestern Corp. v. FERC, 884 F.3d 1176 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (generator cost recovery); PJM Power Providers Group v. FERC, 880 F.3d 559 (D.C. Cir. 2018) (cost of new entry); NRG Power Mktg., LLC v. FERC, 862 F.3d 108 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (FERC jurisdiction to modify rates or settlements); Seminole Elec. Coop., Inc. v. FERC, 861 F.3d 230 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (energy imbalance charges); MISO Transmission Owners v. FERC, 860 F.3d 837 (6th Cir. 2017) (cost allocation for utilities exiting an RTO); NextEra Desert Center Blythe, LLC v. FERC, 852 F.3d 1118 (D.C. Cir. 2017) (congestion cost credits); N.J. Bd. of Pub. Util. Control v. FERC, 744 F.3d 74 (3d Cir. 2014) (capacity market rules and state mandates); New England Power Generators Ass'n, Inc. v. FERC, 757 F.3d 283 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (capacity market rules and state mandates); Metropolitan Edison Co. v. Pa. Pub. Util. Comm’n, 767 F.3d 335 (3d Cir. 2014) (issue preclusion and preemption of transmission line loss costs); S.C. Pub. Serv. Auth. v. FERC, 762 F.3d 41 (D.C. Cir. 2014) (transmission planning and rights of first refusal under FERC Order No. 1000); Ill. Commerce Comm’n v. FERC, 721 F.3d 764 (7th Cir. 2013) (allocation of transmission costs among RTO members).
  • Areas of special emphasis in private practice and while serving at FERC include the following:
    • Energy and Capacity Market Design, including representation of vertically integrated and independent power generation companies in administrative and appellate litigation concerning buyer-side mitigation and minimum offer price rules, state subsidies for preferred generation and related preemption claims, demand response and distributed energy resources, and cost of new entry (CONE).
    • Transmission Planning and Cost Allocation, including representation of electric utilities in matters regarding rights of first refusal to construct facilities, cost allocation disputes between traditional cost-based transmitting utilities or merchant transmission companies, cost allocations associated with initial integration or transfer of membership between Regional Transmission Organizations, and cost recovery for cancelled projects.
    • FERC Enforcement, including representation of natural gas pipelines and electric utilities investigated for alleged market manipulation during market crisis events, financial traders alleged to have violated market rules, power generators alleged to have engaged in physical or financial withholding, and natural gas companies alleged to have committed “flipping” violations.
    • Preemption and related jurisdictional disputes with states regarding natural pipeline certification subsidization, waiver of untimely state certification proceedings, and disallowance of wholesale costs in retail rates.
    • Bankruptcy disputes in Texas, California, Ohio, Delaware and Michigan involving the rejection of FERC-jurisdictional power contracts, gas contracts, or hydroelectric licenses.

Accolades

Honors & Recognitions

  • Chairman’s Medal, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
  • Recommended for Energy Regulation: Electric Power (2022-2024), Energy Litigation: Oil and Gas (2023), Energy Regulation: Oil and Gas (2023-2024), Energy Transactions: Electric Power and Project Finance (2022), Legal 500 United States
  • Recognized as a Leader in Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation), USA-Nationwide, Chambers USA, 2024

  • Recognized as a Best Lawyer for Energy Regulatory Law, The Best Lawyers in America, 2024

  • Legal Champion, National Law Journal and Legal Times award for exceptional pro bono service

Affiliations

Professional

  • Member, Energy Bar Association
  • Member, Federalist Society
  • Member, John Carroll Society

Insights

Publications

  • 2010
    Publication
    The New FERC Enforcement: Due Process Issues in the Post-EPAct 2005 Enforcement Cases, 31 ENERGY L.J. 55

News

Education

JD and LLM, International Trade and Comparative Law, Duke University School of Law, summa cum laude, Order of the Coif, 1999

MA and BA, Soviet and East European Studies, Yale University, summa cum laude, 1991

Admissions

District of Columbia

Courts

Supreme Court of the United States

US Court of Appeals, First Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Third Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

US Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

US Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit

Government Services

Director of Legal Policy, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (April 1, 2018–January 2021)

Special Assistant Attorney General, North Dakota (December 2023 to present)

United States Army, Army Reserve, and National Guard (1992-2018)

Clerkships

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