FTC Submits Comment to EPA on Proposed Rule Concerning Confidentiality of Greenhouse Gas Data; FTC Approves El Paso Energy Corp.s Request to Modify Final Commission Order Regarding its Acquisition of Coastal Corporation

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FTC Submits Comment to EPA on Proposed Rule Concerning Confidentiality of Greenhouse Gas Data

The Federal Trade Commission has submitted a comment to the Environmental Protection Agency in response to a proposed EPA rule concerning the confidentiality of data submitted under EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Reporting Rule. The FTC comment explains that the proposed rule would make public some categories of data that would reveal competitively sensitive business information. In its comment, the FTC encourages the EPA to consider designating such data as confidential business information to avoid publicly releasing information that could facilitate tacit or explicit collusion among competitors. Such collusion could harm consumers through higher prices, decreased quality, and reduced innovation.

The Commission vote approving the comment to the EPA was 5-0. It is available on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release at http://www.ftc.gov/os/2010/09/100930epagreenhouse.pdf. (FTC File No. V100018; the staff contact is Suzanne T. Michel, Office of Policy Planning, 202-326-3094.)

FTC Approves El Paso Energy Corp.’s Request to Modify Final Commission Order Regarding its Acquisition of Coastal Corporation

The Federal Trade Commission has approved a request by El Paso Energy Corporation that the FTC modify a final consent order issued in 2001. That Order required El Paso Energy to sell certain assets and enter other arrangements to settle the Commission’s challenge to its acquisition of Coastal Corporation.

In the request, El Paso Energy asked the FTC to remove the requirement that it maintain a $40 million “development fund.” Under the FTC’s Order, El Paso Energy divested certain pipelines in the Gulf of Mexico to Williams Field Services and established the required fund for Williams to use to build a pipeline or related facility that would serve natural gas producers within a certain area in the Gulf. The Order provides that the fund expires in 2021, and any unused portions are to be returned to El Paso Energy.

According to El Paso’s request, its sale of the ANR pipeline, the acquisition of which gave rise to the divestiture requirement, and other changes within the industry after its merger have increased competition in the area covered by the development fund. Based on these changes, El Paso Energy believes it should no longer be required to maintain the fund, and has asked the FTC to remove that provision from the Order and return the $40 million to the company. El Paso Energy also believes that Williams has not used the fund and states that Williams supports the request to terminate it. El Paso Energy’s request can be found on the FTC’s website and as a link to this press release at http://www.ftc.gov/os/caselist/0010086/100702elpasopetition.pdf.

The Commission vote approving El Paso Energy’s request to modify the Order was 5-0. (FTC Docket No. C-3996; the staff contact is Daniel P. Ducore, Bureau of Competition, 202-326-2526; see press release dated January 29, 2001 at http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2001/01/elpasocoastal.shtm.)

Copies of the documents mentioned in this release are available from the FTC’s website at http://www.ftc.gov and from the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20580. Call toll-free: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

(FYI 41.2010.wpd)

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