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Omya, Inc. v. Vermont

ELR Citation: 32 ELR 20652
Nos. No. 01-7445, 33 Fed. Appx. 581/(2d Cir., 04/25/2002)

The court holds that a Vermont Environmental Board Act 250 (Act 250) permit that restricted truck travel through a village does not violate the U.S. Commerce Clause or the Supremacy Clause. A company whose goods were transported through the village challenged the board's application of Act 250 arguing that the permit restriction discriminates against interstate commerce and is preempted under the Supremacy Clause. The court first holds that the company failed to show that either Act 250 or the permit restriction specifically discriminated facially or in practical effect against interstate commerce or that either imposed differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests. Act 250 does not have a disparate effect on interstate commerce, and even if it did, the burden imposed on interstate commerce is not excessive in relation to the local benefit of enhancing aesthetics and historic preservation and reducing traffic congestion. The court also holds that 49 U.S.C. §14501 does not preempt the permit restriction and, thus, the permit restriction is not invalid under the Supremacy Clause. Although 49 U.S.C. §14501 prohibits states and political subdivisions from enacting regulations having the force or effect of law on truck transportation routes, prices, or service, §14501 is intended to preempt state economic regulation. Act 250 does not speak directly to prices, routes, or services of motor carriers. It is a land use statute, intended to protect Vermont's environmental resources. The permit restriction seeks to achieve noneconomic goals that bear no relationship to the regulation of competition.

Counsel for Plaintiff
Edward V. Schwiebert
Rieber, Kenlan, Schwiebert, Hall & Facey
71 Allen St., Rutland VT 05702
(802) 773-3300

Counsel for Defendants
Rebecca M. Ellis
Attorney General's Office
109 State St., Montpelier VT 05609
(802) 828-3171

Graafeiland, Katzmann, and Korman,1 JJ.

1. The Honorable Edward R. Korman of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York, sitting by designation.