Texas Energy Law

Course Information

Registration Information

Meeting Times

Day Time Location
TUE 4:15 - 6:13 pm TNH 2.124

Evaluation Method

Type Date Time Location
Floating (administered by Faculty Assistant)
Midterm (administered by Faculty Assistant)

Description

This course will be taught in person but with the option of remote participation via Zoom.  Please note that this course might become online-only in the event that actual in-person attendance during the semester consistently falls below a threshold to be determined in the exercise of reasonable discretion by the instructor and the Student Affairs Office.

This course divides the semester into roughly four parts.  In the first quarter of the semester, we start by examining oil production, globally, within OPEC and OPEC+, and finally within the US, and particularly 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 significant oil, natural gas, and pipeline-related issues .  We finish this section by examing several interesting 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) examining Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), RRC, and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) treatment of various elements 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 become 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 and the environment.  In particular, we will examine the role of Chevron deference (Chevron v. NRDC, 467 U.S. 837, 1984),  as interpreted by past and present Supreme Courts, in agency decision making.  

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

Your performance in this course will be evaluated on the basis of an open book, take home, mid-term exam (administered over spring break), a closed book, take home, final exam (administered during finals weeks, with 24 hours to compete), and in-class (or online) active participation; the percentages are 30%, 60% and 10%, respectively.  There is no textbook for this class.  Reading assignments and discussion material will be posted on Canvas in advance of the pertinent class. You should assume that the reading requirement is moderate.  No more than two absences will be allowed (without express prior approval of the instructor.)