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U.S. Supreme Court

Champlin Refining Co. v. United States, 329 U.S. 29 (1946)

Champlin Refining Co. v. United States

No. 21

Argued November 8, 9, 1945

Reargued October 18, 21, 1946

Decided November 18, 1946

329 U.S. 29


Appellant owns and operates a pipeline from its refinery in Oklahoma to various distributing points in other States. It carries no commodities except its own, produced in its own refinery and delivered into its own storage tanks for sale to its customers. Delivery is made from appellant's storage tanks by means of truck racks or railroad tank car racks, and never directly from the pipeline. Appellant has never transported, offered to transport, or been asked to transport any products belonging to others, and has never filed any tariffs of transportation charges with the Interstate Commerce Commission or any state commission or regulatory body. However, the price at the terminal points, with some exceptions, includes the f.o.b. price at the refinery, plus a differential based on the railroad freight rate from the refinery to final destination. The Interstate Commerce Commission ordered appellant to file an inventory

Page 329 U. S. 30

of its property for the purpose of valuation pursuant to § 19(a) of the Interstate Commerce Act.


1. Appellant is a "common carrier" within the meaning of § 1(3)(a) of the Interstate Commerce Act, and the Commission's order requiring appellant to file an inventory of its property for purposes of valuation pursuant to § 19(a) is authorized by the Act. Pp. 329 U. S. 32-34.

(a) Section 1(3)(a) of the Act defines the term "common carrier" as including "all pipeline companies," and not merely those engaged in the business of common law carriers for hire. Pp. 329 U. S. 33-34.

(b) Appellant's operation is "transportation" within the meaning of § 1(1)(b), which provides that the Act shall apply to "common carriers" engaged in the "transportation of oil or other commodity . . . by pipeline . . ." P. 329 U. S. 34.

2. As so construed, the Act does not exceed the commerce power of Congress or violate the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment. Pp. 329 U. S. 34-35.

(a) The power of Congress to regulate interstate commerce is not dependent on a technical common carrier status, but is quite as extensive over a private carrier. P. 329 U. S. 35.

(b) It is adequate to support a requirement that appellant furnish information as to facilities being used in interstate marketing of its products -- whether appellant be considered a private carrier or a common carrier. P. 329 U. S. 35.

(c) A mere requirement that appellant provide information about a subject within the power possessed by Congress and delegated to the Commission cannot be considered a taking of property. P. 329 U. S. 35.

59 F.Supp. 978 affirmed.

A three-judge District Court denied an injunction against an order of the Interstate Commerce Commission requiring appellant to file an inventory of its pipeline property for purposes of valuation pursuant to § 19(a) of the Interstate Commerce Act. 59 F.Supp. 978. Affirmed, p. 329 U. S. 35.

Page 329 U. S. 31

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