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Heraclio Pimentel is an associate in Stoel Rives’ Environment, Land Use and Natural Resources group.

Executive Summary

The decision by the United States Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”) on June 28, 2024, in Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo, 603 U. S. ____ (2024) (“Loper”) reads simply: “The Administrative Procedure Act requires courts to exercise their independent judgment in deciding whether an agency has acted within its statutory authority, and courts may not defer to an agency interpretation of the law simply because a statute is ambiguous; Chevron is overruled.”[1] Chevron cannot be reconciled with the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) by presuming that statutory ambiguities are implicit delegations to agencies. Chevron was decided in 1984. The APA was adopted in 1946.

Moving forward, courts are no longer required to defer to a federal agency’s interpretation of the federal statute it administers when that statute is silent or ambiguous, unless the statute expressly grants discretionary authority to the federal agency. The Court’s ruling will only apply moving forward and prior cases decided using the Chevron doctrine will not be affected by the Court’s ruling.Continue Reading SCOTUS Speaks: Agency Deference is Out, Judicial Independence is In

Last month, the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Central Valley Region (“Central Valley Water Board”) published a Food Safety Project White Paper (“White Paper”) on the use of oil field produced water for food crop irrigation. The White Paper did not find any evidence that using produced water for irrigation creates an elevated threat to human or crop safety.
Continue Reading White Paper Finds No Evidence of Elevated Threat to Human or Crop Safety from Use of Oil Field Produced Water to Irrigate Crops