Key Vote: H.R. 4768

Today, the House will vote on H.R. 4768, the Separation of Powers Restoration Act (SOPRA). This bill will reel in the power of executive agencies and marks an much needed step towards regulatory reform. The American Energy Alliance supports H.R. 4768 and urges all Representatives vote YES.

In Chevron v. NRDC, the Supreme Court held that courts should defer to agencies for the interpretation of statutes unless the agency’s interpretations were unreasonable. Known as “Chevron deference,” this rule gives regulatory agencies regulatory authority that extends beyond what Congress had intended. Chevron deference has been used to expand executive branch overreach and has contributed to an imbalance of power among the three branches. This is particularly common with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which has used Chevron to bend the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act to comply with its burdensome and costly regulatory agenda.

H.R. 4768 pushes back on this practice by requiring courts to review all questions of statutory interpretation “de novo,” or outside the agencies own reading of the statute. This would end Chevron deference and require agencies to be much more conservative in their statutory interpretation. In the energy and environment space, this would provide a marked victory for constitutionalists and those who favor the free market. This would also significantly damage the prospects of many EPA rules and regulations, such as the Clean Power Plan, from surviving legal challenges.

Overall, H.R. 4768 provides smart, sound regulatory reform and helps rebalance the separation of powers that have been continually skewed towards the executive branch in recent decades. The American Energy Alliance urges all Representatives vote YES on H.R. 4768.

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