Portland's Fossil Fuel Policy Raises Commerce Clause Questions

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Stoel Rives attorney Eric Martin authored an article for Law360 titled “Portland's Fossil Fuel Policy Raises Commerce Questions.” The article discusses questions surrounding actions taken by the City Council of Portland, Oregon, to develop zoning and building code amendments that would implement a new policy of prohibiting the expansion of  infrastructure within the city focused on fossil fuel transportation and storage.

Portland is Oregon’s energy hub, a regional crossroads for railroads, pipelines and shipping used to move petroleum, natural gas and liquefied natural gas within and into and out of the state, which imports all of its petroleum products and most of its natural gas. The potential for increased transportation of fossil fuels by rail was a key factor behind the city’s new policy, and although it will contain various carve-outs, including one that excludes infrastructure that provides service directly to end users, it may run afoul of federal regulations.

Martin examines the questions of whether the amendments will violate the federal Commerce Clause or if parts of the policy would be preempted by existing federal regulations governing fossil fuel commerce and transportation.

Read “Portland's Fossil Fuel Policy Raises Commerce Questions,” published December 3, 2015. (Subscription required.) 

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Eric L. Martin
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