Court ruling strengthens energy industry

Pfluger, TXOGA, TIPRO say decision weakens power-drunk agencies

FILE - The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, April 25, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib, File)

Congressman August Pfluger has been joined by the Texas Oil & Gas and Texas Independent Producers & Royalty Owners associations in hailing a U.S. Supreme Court decision that overruled the so-called Chevron Doctrine, which had required courts to defer to the legal interpretations of federal regulatory agencies.

“The unelected administrative state has been running roughshod over Congress for decades, implementing burdensome rules and regulations on American industries, especially the oil and gas business,” Pfluger said from Washington, D.C. “The Supreme Court’s decision to return the power to Congress is the beginning of the end for the administrative state.

“I will soon introduce legislation to outline clear next steps toward restoring the lawmaking and oversight power of Congress.”

TXOGA President Todd Staples said regulatory certainty is essential to continue to attract jobs and capital to Texas and the United States and for the oil and natural gas industry to provide the indispensable energy that fuels modern life.

“Sound, science-based decisions should be the standard and not political agendas,” Staples said from Austin.

TIPRO President Ed Loganecker said last Friday’s landmark ruling will rein in an administrative state that had become too powerful in advancing regulations.

“Federal agencies have clearly taken the Chevron deference too far by implementing their own de facto laws, which can be devastating to entire industry sectors if left unchecked, including oil and natural gas,” Longanecker said. “This decision will help to rebalance power between agencies and the courts.

“We also commend Congressman August Pfluger for his focus and work on this critically important issue.”

The 1984 decision in Chevron vs. National Resources Defense Council involved a challenge to a regulation enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency under the Clean Air Act.

The court’s 6-3 ruling said courts must exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority as the Administrative Procedure Act requires.

The case had required courts to defer to an agency’s interpretation of laws passed by Congress if it was reasonable and conservative legal scholars and some judges had said the courts were abdicating their responsibility to interpret the law.

The case that led to the court’s reevaluation of the Chevron Doctrine stemmed from a 2020 federal regulation that required the owners of vessels in the Atlantic herring fishery to pay for monitors while they were at sea, according to CBS News.

The federal government had prevailed in legal challenges and fishing companies had asked the Supreme Court to overrule the Chevron ruling.

The Biden administration urged the Supreme Court to leave Chevron deference intact, calling it a “bedrock principle of administrative law,” and Justice Department lawyers argued that the framework allowed experts at federal agencies to interpret statutes because they, not judges, were better suited to respond to ambiguities in a law.