Texas Energy Law

Class Unique: 28415

This course divides the semester into roughly four parts.  In the first quarter of the semester, we start by examining oil production, first globally, then OPEC, and finally the US and Texas.  We next discuss the Texas Railroad Commission (RRC), its constitutional and statutory underpinnings, along with noteworthy Texas Supreme Ct. cases involving the RRC and important oil, natural gas, and pipeline-related issues .  We finish this section by examing several interesting and important RRC rules and orders.  The second quarter of the semester explores regulated transmission and distribution of natural gas and electricity. We examine the elements of a successful rate case and review numerous cases (both Texas and Federal courts) addressing Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), RRC, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) treatment of various aspects of a rate case.  In the third quarter, we will discuss renewable energy development, including the creation of CREZ (competitive renewable energy zones), and the steps which led Texas to being the nation's #1 wind energy state. The final quarter of the semester will focus on EPA regulations and US Supreme Ct. cases related to energy, especially those cases addressing regulation of greenhouse gases. In particular, we will examine the role of Chevron deference (Chevron v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837, 1984) in agency decision making.  

Throughout the semester, we will have guest lecturers from the RRC, PUCT, ERCOT, and various industry and environmental concerns. 

Your performance in this course will be evaluated on the basis of an open book take home mid-term exam, a closed book final exam (with 24 hours to compete), and in-class participation; the percentages are 30%, 60% and 10%, respectively.  There is no textbook for this class.  Reading assignments will be posted on Canvas well in advance of the pertinent class.  Your instructor may put together a packet of reading material which can be picked up prior to each 'quarterly' section of the semester-- this is still under review.  You should assume that the reading requirement is moderate to heavy.  No more than two absences will be allowed (without express prior approval of the instructor.)  As well, class participation is critical to obtaining the highest possible grade.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Tuesday 5:45 - 7:35 pm TNH 3.124
Evaluation Method Date Time Alpha Range Room
Midterm 3/13/19

Additional Information

Course Type
Grading Method
Pass/Fail Not Allowed
Will use floating mean GPA if applicable