Law School Case Brief
Pac. Gas & Elec. Co. v. Fed. Power Com. - 164 U.S. App. D.C. 371, 506 F.2d 33 (1974)
A general statement of policy, on the other hand, does not establish a binding norm.
Petitioners were customers of pipeline companies, whose deliveries were subject to curtailment during natural gas shortages. During a period of gas shortage in the country, the Federal Power Commission, without prior notice or opportunity for comment, issued a statement of policy directing jurisdictional pipeline companies that expected periods of shortages to file tariff sheets containing a curtailment plan in order to prevent the companies from liability under various contractual terms. The order assigned a low priority to electric generating companies to which petitioners belonged. Petitioners contended that the statement of policy issued by the Federal Power Commission was procedurally defective for failure to comply with the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C.S. § 551 et seq.
Was the policy statement defective for failure to comply with the rulemaking requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act?
The appellate court held that the policy statement, not being a substantive rule, was exempt from the requirements of the Act. Since the policy had no immediate and significant impact upon petitioners and since the record would not permit meaningful review of the issues, the court held that it lacked jurisdiction for a judicial review of the policy.
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