On January 12, 2015, the Supreme Court will hold one hour of oral argument on whether the Natural Gas Act preempts state-law claims challenging industry practices that directly affect the wholesale natural gas market when those claims are asserted by litigants who purchased gas in retail transactions.
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ONEOK, Inc. v. Learjet, Inc., addresses an important issue involving the preemptive effect of the Natural Gas Act and the scope of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s enforcement authority vis-à-vis state regulators. Lower courts have been struggling to determine whether FERC has exclusive jurisdiction over the activities of energy firms and whether state regulation of activities of energy firms presents a conflict with federal law. The approach that the Court ultimately takes in addressing this issue will have potential implications for similar statutes, such as the Federal Power Act.
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