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Federal Energy Administration v. Algonquin SNG, Inc.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued April 20, 1976 ; June 17, 1976

No. 75-382

Opinion

 [*550]  [***52]  [**2297]     MR. JUSTICE MARSHALL delivered the opinion of the Court.

 Section 232(b) of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962, 76 Stat. 877, as amended by  [**2298]  § 127(d) of the Trade Act of 1974, 88 Stat. 1993, 19 U.S.C. § 1862(b) (1970 ed., Supp. IV), ] provides that if the Secretary of the Treasury finds that an "article is being imported into the United States in such quantities or under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security," the President is authorized to S

"take such action, and for such time, as he deems necessary to adjust the imports of [the] article and its derivatives so that… imports [of the article] will not  [***53]  threaten to impair the national security." 2I  [*551]  All parties to this case agree that § 232(b) authorizes the President to adjust the imports of petroleum and petroleum products by imposing quotas on such imports. What we must decide is whether § 232(b) also authorizes  [*552]  the President to control such imports by imposing on them a system of monetary exactions in the form of license fees.

 [****6]  I

The predecessor statute to § 232(b) was originally enacted by Congress as § 7 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1955, c. 169, 69 Stat. 166 (see n. 21, infra), and amended by § 8 of the Trade Agreements Extension Act of 1958, Pub. L. 85-686, 72 Stat. 678. The advisory function currently performed under § 232(b) by the Secretary of the Treasury was performed  [***54]  by the Director  [**2299]  of the Office of Defense Mobilization (ODM) under the 1955 and 1958 statutes. But, like § 232(b), those statutes allowed the President, on a finding that imports of an article were threatening "to impair the national security," to "take such action as he deem[ed] necessary to adjust the imports of [the] article…." In 1959, President Eisenhower, having been advised by the Director of ODM that "'crude oil and the principal crude oil derivatives and products are being imported in such quantities and under such circumstances as to threaten to impair the national security,'" invoked the 1958 version of the provision and established the Mandatory Oil Import Program (MOIP). Presidential Proclamation No. 3279, 3 CFR 11 (1959-1963 Comp.). The MOIP, designed to reduce the gap between domestic supply and demand [****7]  by encouraging the development of domestic production and refinery capacity, imposed a system of quotas on the importation of petroleum and petroleum products. The program was not wholly successful, however, and in the face of domestic consumption which continued to grow faster than domestic production, Presidents Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon each felt compelled to amend it by raising the permissible quota levels. App. 211-212.

 [*553]  In light of a Cabinet task force conclusion that the MOIP, as then constituted, was not fulfilling its objectives, 3 President Nixon, acting pursuant to § 232(b), radically amended the program in 1973. Presidential Proclamation No. 4210, 3 CFR 31 (1974). The President suspended existing tariffs on oil imports and provided "for a gradual transition from the existing quota method of adjusting imports of petroleum and petroleum products to a long-term program for adjustment of imports of petroleum and petroleum products through… the institution of a system of fees applicable to imports of crude oil, unfinished oils, and finished products…." Id., at 32. This amended program established a gradually increasing schedule of license fees for importers.  [****8]  With respect to crude oil, the fee was scheduled to increase from an initial 10 1/2 cents per barrel on May 1, 1973, to 21 cents per barrel on May 1, 1975. With respect to most finished petroleum products, the fee was to rise gradually from 15 cents per barrel on May 1, 1973, to 63 cents per barrel on November 1, 1975. 4 Id., at 36. While initially some oil imports were exempted from the license fee requirements, the exemption levels were scheduled to decrease annually so that by 1980 the fees would be applicable to all oil imports.

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426 U.S. 548 *; 96 S. Ct. 2295 **; 49 L. Ed. 2d 49 ***; 1976 U.S. LEXIS 130 ****

FEDERAL ENERGY ADMINISTRATION ET AL. v. ALGONQUIN SNG, INC., ET AL.

Prior History: CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT

CORE TERMS

oil, quotas, license, petroleum, domestic, impair, monetary, exactions, crude, quantities, barrel, commodities, delegation, tariffs, re-enactment

Governments, Federal Government, Domestic Security, International Trade Law, International Commerce & Trade, Federal Legislation, General Overview, Exports & Imports, Federal Legislation, Trade Act of 1974, Civil Procedure, Federal & State Interrelationships, Anti-Injunction Act, Tax Law, Federal Tax Administration & Procedures, Tax Credits & Liabilities, Preliminary Considerations, Constitutional Law, Separation of Powers, Legislation, Enactment, Jurisdiction on Certiorari, Considerations Governing Review, Federal Court Decisions, US Congress, Executive Offices