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CHAMPLIN REFINING CO. v. UNITED STATES ET AL.

decided: November 18, 1946.

CHAMPLIN REFINING CO
v.
UNITED STATES ET AL.



APPEAL FROM THE DISTRICT COURT OF THE UNITED STATES FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF OKLAHOMA.

Vinson, Black, Reed, Frankfurter, Douglas, Murphy, Jackson, Rutledge, Burton

Author: Jackson

[ 329 U.S. Page 31]

 MR. JUSTICE JACKSON delivered the opinion of the Court.

The Interstate Commerce Commission, acting under § 19 (a) of the Interstate Commerce Act,*fn1 ordered the appellant to furnish certain inventories, schedules, maps and charts of its pipe line property.*fn2 Champlin's objections that the Act does not authorize the order, or if it be construed to do so is unconstitutional, were overruled by the Commission and again by the District Court which dismissed the company's suit for an injunction.*fn3 These

[ 329 U.S. Page 32]

     questions of law are brought here by appeal. Judicial Code § 238, 28 U. S. C. § 345.

Champlin owns and operates a line of six-inch pipe five hundred and sixteen miles in length lying in five states. Originating at Champlin's Enid, Oklahoma refinery, it crosses Kansas, Nebraska, a part of South Dakota, and ends in Iowa. It is used only to convey the company's own refinery products to its own terminal stations at Hutchinson, Kansas; Superior, Nebraska; and Rock Rapids, Iowa, at each of which the line connects with storage facilities from which deliveries are made.

The statute, so far as relevant, says that it shall apply "to common carriers engaged in" "transportation of oil or other commodity" by pipe line from one state to another. It provides also that "common carrier" includes "all pipeline companies."*fn4 This language on its face would seem to cover the appellant's operation.

[ 329 U.S. Page 33]

     Champlin contends, however, that the "transportation" mentioned in the Act does not refer to the carriage of one's own goods. The District Court has found that Champlin is the sole owner of the products transported through its pipe line; it has never transported, offered to transport, or been asked to transport any products belonging to any other company or person; its pipe line does not connect with any other pipe line but only with storage tanks at the three terminal points; there are no facilities for putting any petroleum product into the line other than at the Enid refinery; delivery of the products at the three terminal points is made from Champlin's storage tanks by means of truck racks or railroad tank car racks and is not made directly from the pipe line in any instance; no tariffs stating transportation charges have been filed with the Interstate Commerce Commission or with any state commission or regulatory body.

Because of these facts the appellant suggests that the language and holding of this Court concerning the Uncle Sam Oil Company in The Pipe Line Cases, 234 U.S. 548, approved in Valvoline Oil Company v. United States, 308 U.S. 141, govern this case. The Uncle Sam Company operation is described as "simply drawing oil from its own wells across a state line to its own refinery for its own use, and that is all . . . ." The Pipe Line Cases, 234 U.S. 548, 562. The Court considered this was not "transportation" within the meaning of the Act.

But we think it would expand the actual holding of that case to apply its conclusion to Champlin. The controlling fact under the statute is transporting commodities from state to state by pipe line. Admittedly Champlin is not a common carrier in the sense of the ...


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