Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon today announced that Wyoming and Montana have jointly asked the United States Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Washington State’s unconstitutional discrimination against a proposed coal export terminal…
Specifically, the two states seek to invoke the U.S. Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, which allows for disputes between states to bypass lower courts and proceed directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
In this case, Wyoming and Montana argue that Washington’s discriminatory denial of a Section 401 Water Quality Certification for the coal terminal violates both the Dormant Commerce Clause and the Foreign Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.
The Commerce Clause to the U.S. Constitution authorizes the federal government — not states — to regulate interstate commerce.
“I did not come to this decision lightly, but Wyoming’s ability to export one of our greatest natural resources is being blocked unlawfully,” Governor Gordon said. “It is critical that Section 401 of the Clean Water Act not be used to interfere with lawful interstate commerce. It is not a tool to erect a trade barrier based on a fashionable political agenda.”
The states’ filing argues that Washington’s actions amount to a de facto embargo on Montana and Wyoming coal that is unconstitutional.
Governor Gordon remains hopeful that the U.S. Supreme Court will act expeditiously and grant a hearing on this issue that is critical to the state’s economic interests.