The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) remains open during the partial government shut down. While no notice appears on FERC’s webpage, FERC is able to remain open because its funding through September 2019 was secured in the Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, and Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019, which included the Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. That Act, H.R. 5895, was signed into law by the President on September 21, 2018.
While the present government shut-down does not directly impact FERC, its ability to perform certain functions is dependent on other agencies that are shut-down. For example, the shut-down of the Department of Interior (Fish & Wildlife Service), Department of Agriculture (Forest Service), and Environmental Protection Agency impede the ability of pipeline and transmission projects to proceed through necessary environmental and project reviews and permitting.
During the January 2018 government shutdown, FERC was able to remain open using existing funds, but it also published an updated Plan for Operating in the Event of a Lapse in Appropriations
that explained how it would reduce operations to excepted functions, performed by about three percent of its workforce. That plan appears to remain in place, and has not been updated. The excepted functions are actions by the five Commissioners, hydroelectric and liquefied natural gas project inspections, monitoring electric reliability and threats to infrastructure, market monitoring, legal and enforcement matters, and maintaining Commission infrastructure.