Monday, October 28, 2013

Arkansas Power & Light Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commission case brief

Arkansas Power & Light Co. v. Interstate Commerce Commission case brief summary
725 F.2d 716 (1984)

The court considered the request by petitioner utility companies to review respondent Interstate Commerce Commission's (ICC) decision not to institute rulemaking and to review a policy statement made by the ICC. The utility companies argued that specific rules were required in order for them to comply with the Long-Cannon Amendment to the Staggers Rail Act (Amendment), 49 U.S.C.S. § 10707a(e)(2)(B), (C).

The utility companies filed a petition with the ICC to institute a rulemaking proceeding under § 10707a(e)(2)(B), (C). The utility companies requested carrier-specific data that they claimed was necessary to comply with the policy of the Amendment. The ICC issued a decision refusing to institute a rulemaking proceeding and announcing that the factors in § 10707a(e)(2)(B), (C) would be considered on a case by case basis. The utility companies appealed the decision and requested a review of the policy statement.

  • The court affirmed the ICC's refusal to institute a rulemaking proceeding, and the court declined to comment on the policy statement. 
  • The court held that there was no basis in the record to compel rulemaking. 
  • The ICC's decision to avoid the compilation of unnecessary data was sound, and it had the discretion to make the decision under the Amendment. 
  • The policy statement was not ripe for judicial review because it was a non-binding statement of future intent, and it did not pose any hardship on the utility companies. 
  • Review by the court was only appropriate after the policy was applied to a concrete fact situation.


The court affirmed the decision of the ICC not to institute the rulemaking proceeding requested by the utility companies, and the court declined to review the ICC's policy statement.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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