Supreme Court Walks Energy Policy Tightrope as it Addresses Federalism and States' Rights
A rare trio of near-simultaneous Supreme Court energy cases is providing considerable drama as the Court weighs competing claims of federal and state power to control energy policy. In resolving them, the Court is likely to shape the future of energy project development, renewable energy, and possibly even the Court’s eventual review of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan.
With Congress in stalemate over energy policy, particularly on issues relating to climate change, clean energy, energy efficiency, and demand reduction, the states have stepped forward to fill the void. States are legislating and regulating to support renewables and new clean (natural gas-fired) power generation as replacements for old and dirty coal plants, and are examining the limits of natural gas pipeline pricing power. At the same time, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is also trying to innovate—for instance, by supporting demand response programs that pay customers to avoid using electricity during periods of peak demand.
Published in Trends March/April 2016, Volume 47, Number 4, ©2016 by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association.