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Supreme Court Says States Can Regulate Natural Gas Prices

April 29, 2015 By Josh Kessler

The US Supreme Court ruled that states can regulate natural gas prices under the Natural Gas Act, provided that the policies do not conflict with federal law, writes The Energy Collective. SCOTUSblog explains that the Court determined that state antitrust law could proceed in a case of market manipulation, regardless of federal law. This has been a gray area in the past. It is longstanding precedent that the federal government has jurisdiction over wholesale energy sales, while states have jurisdiction over retail sales. The question in the recent case of Oneok, Inc. et al. v. Learjet, Inc., et al. was what to do when a practice affects both retail and wholesale energy sales. The majority opinion, written by Justice Stephen Breyer, who was joined by five other justices, was that practices affecting retail rates are “firmly on the States’ side of that dividing line.” This could affect other energy-related cases in the future.

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