INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v. STEERE TANK LINES,
460 U.S. 1025 (1983)

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U.S. Supreme Court

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION v. STEERE TANK LINES, , 460 U.S. 1025 (1983)

460 U.S. 1025

INTERSTATE COMMERCE COMMISSION
v.
STEERE TANK LINES, INC., et al
No. 82-41

Supreme Court of the United States

March 7, 1983

On petition for writ of certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

The petition for writ of certiorari is denied.

Justice WHITE, with whom Justice POWELL and Justice REHNQUIST join, dissenting from the denial of certiorari.

The Motor Carrier Act of 1980, 49 U.S.C. (Supp. IV) 10101 et seq., authorizes the Interstate Commerce Commission to lift restrictions on motor carriers' existing authority where the removal would, among other things, "rea-

Page 460 U.S. 1025 , 1026

sonably broaden the categories of property authorized by the carriers' certificate or permit." 10922(h)(1)(B)(i). Pursuant to the statute, the Commission issued guidelines for processing removal-restriction applications. The guidelines invite carriers authorized to haul "one or more named commodities" to apply for a broader authorization, such as authority to transport "commodities in bulk."

In this case, the Maxwell Company applied to the Commission to broaden the commodity description in one of its existing certificates from " spent silica gel catalyst, in bulk" to "commodities in bulk." After considering submissions from Maxwell, and comments filed by two carriers objecting to the proposed broadening, the Commission's Restriction Removal Board concluded that the application should be granted. The Board found that the proposed broadening "will reduce the consumption of energy resources, will offer potential cost savings and improved efficiency, will enable applicant to provide full service to a broader range of shippers and in rural communities, and will be consistent with the [transportation policies of the Act]." The Commission denied internal appeal.

Steere Tank Lines, one of the objecting carriers, then challenged the Commission's action in the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, arguing that the Commission's guidelines were not valid under the Act. Relying on its earlier decision in American Trucking Associations, Inc. v. ICC, 659 F.2d 452 (1981), cert. pending, (No. 82-86), the court held that the Commission's action was improper. The Fifth Circuit maintained that the Commission's guidelines fail to account for the Motor Carrier Act's mandate that every carrier be "fit, willing, and able to provide the transportation to be authorized by the certificate." 49 U.S.C. 10922(a)( 1). Accordingly, the court remanded the decision in this case to the Commission for further proceedings. [460 U.S. 1025 , 1027]


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