The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a subpoena requesting information regarding purchases,…

The Department of Energy (DOE) issued a subpoena requesting information regarding purchases, sales, exchanges, and other transactions in crude oil from Phoenix Petroleum Company (Phoenix). The aim of the DOE audit was to uncover violations of the Emergency Petroleum Allocation Act of 1973 (EPAA). The EPAA contained provisions for summary, or expedited, enforcement of DOE decisions. However, after the subpoena was issued but before Phoenix had responded, the EPAA expired. The EPAA provided that ‘‘The authority to promulgate and amend any regulation, or to issue any order under this Chapter shall expire at midnight September 30, 1981, but such expiration shall not affect any action or pending proceedings, administrative, civil or criminal action or proceeding, whether or not pending, based upon any act committed or liability incurred prior to such expiration date.’’ Using the summary enforcement provisions of the now-defunct EPAA, the DOE sues to enforce the subpoena. Phoenix argues that because the EPAA has expired, the DOE lacks the authority either to issue the subpoena or to use the summary enforcement provisions. Is Phoenix correct? Why?

 

 

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