On December 10, 2014, the California Supreme Court granted petition for review in Friends of the Eel River v. North Coast Railroad Authority to resolve a split between the First and Third District Courts of Appeal. (230 Cal.App.4th 85 (2014), cert. granted, 339 P.3d 329, Cal. S.C. Case No. S222472 (2014).) The Court will consider two questions:
(1) Does the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act (“ICCTA”) (49 U.S.C. § 10101 et seq.) preempt the application of the California Environmental Quality Act [CEQA] (Pub. Res. Code, § 21050 et seq.) to a state agency’s proprietary acts with respect to a state-owned and funded rail line or is CEQA not preempted in such circumstances under the market participant doctrine (see Town of Atherton v. California High Speed Rail Authority (2014) 228 Cal.App.4th 314)?
(2) Does the ICCTA preempt a state agency’s voluntary commitments to comply with CEQA as a condition of receiving state funds for a state-owned rail line and/or leasing state-owned property?
The Supreme Court’s decision on this issue has the potential to affect crude by rail shipments in California, which has increased dramatically within California and nationwide in the past several years. In 2013, railroads transported almost 40 million tons of crude oil across the U.S., as compared to approximately 20 million tons in 2012 and 7 million tons in 2011, according to data from the Association of American Railroads.
Does ICCTA Preempt CEQA?
Continue Reading California Supreme Court To Resolve Appellate Court Split on Federal Preemption in Railroad Regulation