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National Tank Truck Carriers, Inc. v. New York, City of

Citation: 12 ELR 20774
No. No. 81-7838, 677 F.2d 270/17 ERC 1882/(2d Cir., 05/03/1982) Aff'd

The court of appeals affirms a district court decision upholding the constitutionality of New York City Fire Department regulations governing the transportation of hazardous gases through the city by tank truck. Since the rules, which limit the routes over which and times during which gases may be trucked throughthe city, are designed to promote safety rather than local economic interests, their local benefits to their adverse effects on interstate commerce. The inconveniences suffered by truckers as a result of the rules, the court concludes, are insubstantial in comparison to their promotion of the public interest by preventing catastrophic accidents. Considering also that the rules do not tend to deflect the risks of such accidents to neighboring states, the court finds them constitutional under the Commerce Clause. For the most part, the court rejects appellants' claim that the rules are preempted by the federal Hazardous Materials Transportation Act. The local requirements harmonize rather than conflict with the federal requirements, and are thus constitutional. However, the court remands without passing on the question of whether the city's hazard class definitions are inconsistent with the corresponding federal definitions.

Counsel for Appellants
Lawrence W. Bierlein
910 17th St. NW, Washington DC 20006
(202) 659-9475

Douglas E. McKeon
120 Broadway, Suite 3330, New York NY 10271
(212) 964-7932

Counsel for Appellees
Barry L. Schwartz, Francis Caputo
Office of the Corporation Counsel
100 Church St., New York NY 10007
(212) 566-2597

Oakes, J. (joined by Lumbard and Friedman,* JJ.)