Pipe Line Cases - 234 U.S. 548 (1914)
U.S. Supreme Court
Pipe Line Cases, 234 U.S. 548 (1914)
The Pipe Line Cases
Nos. 481, 42, 483, 506, 507, 508
Argued October 15, 1, 1913
Decided June 22, 1914
234 U.S. 548
The provision in the Hepburn Act, amending the Act to Regulate Commerce by making persons or corporations engaged in transporting oil from one state to another by pipelines carriers within the provisions of the act, applies to the combination of pipelines owned and controlled by the Standard Oil Company and to the constituent corporations united in a single line, although the only oil transported is that which has been purchased by the Standard Oil Company or by such constituent corporations prior to the transportation thereof.
As applied to existing corporations, the pipeline provision of the Hepburn Act does not compel persons engaged in interstate transportation of oil to continue in operation, but it does require them not to continue to transport oil for others or purchased by themselves except as common carriers.
The fact that the article transported between interstate points has been purchased by the carrier, is not conclusive against the transportation's being interstate commerce, and in this case held that interstate transportation of oil purchased from the producers by the owner of the pipe is interstate commerce and under the control of Congress.
While the control of Congress over commerce among the states cannot be made a means of exercising powers not committed to it by the Constitution, it may require those who are common carriers in substance to become so in form.
The provision in the Hepburn Act requiring persons or corporations engaged in interstate transportation of oil by pipelines to become common carriers and subject to the provisions of the Act to Regulate Commerce is not unconstitutional, either as to future pipelines or as to the owners of existing pipelines, as depriving them of their property without due process of law.
Requiring a person engaged in interstate transportation of oil by pipelines to become a common carrier does not involve a taking of private property, and the provision in the Hepburn Act to that effect is not unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment.
A corporation engaged in refining oil may draw oil from its own wells through a pipeline across a state line to its own refinery for it own use without being a common carrier under the pipeline provisions of the Hepburn Act, the transportation being merely incidental to the use of the oil at the end.
204 F. 798 reversed in part and affirmed in part.
The facts, which involve the constitutionality, construction, and application of the provisions in the Hepburn Act relating to interstate transportation of oil by pipelines, are stated in the opinion.