Description: Bill of complaint in the U.S. Supreme Court by Montana and Wyoming asserting that the State of Washington unconstitutionally blocked the use of its ports for shipments of coal mined in Montana and Wyoming.
Montana v. Washington
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 06/28/2021 Order List Download Motion for leave to file a bill of complaint denied. Supreme Court Denied Montana and Wyoming’s Challenge to Washington Actions that Barred Coal Exports. The U.S. Supreme Court denied Montana and Wyoming’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint that asserted that the State of Washington denied access to its ports for shipments of Montana and Wyoming’s coal in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause and the Foreign Commerce Clause. Justices Thomas and Alito would have granted the motion. 06/07/2021 Brief Download Supplemental brief filed by Montana and Wyoming in support of motion. 05/25/2021 Brief Download Brief filed by United States as amicus curiae. U.S. Recommended Denial of Montana and Wyoming’s Motion to File Bill of Complaint Against Washington for Blocking Coal Exports. The Acting Solicitor General filed a brief in the Supreme Court expressing the United States’ view that the Court should deny Montana and Wyoming’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint against the State of Washington for allegedly unconstitutional actions blocking export of coal mined in Montana and Wyoming from Washington ports. The U.S. contended that because the developer of the proposed coal export terminal at issue in the case had filed for bankruptcy and would not be building the terminal, this proceeding would not redress Montana and Wyoming’s asserted injury and there was therefore no Article III case or controversy. 10/05/2020 Notice Acting Solicitor General invited to submit brief. Trump Administration Did Not Weigh in on Montana and Washington’s Case Against Washington for Blocking Coal Exports. The Trump administration’s Acting Solicitor General did not file a brief in response to the Supreme Court’s invitation to express the views of the United States on Montana and Washington’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint asserting that the State of Washington unconstitutionally denied access to its ports for shipments of coal from Montana and Wyoming. The two states contended that Washington’s denial of a water quality certification for a terminal violated the Dormant Commerce Clause and the Foreign Commerce Clause. The case was distributed for the conference on September 29, 2020, and on October 5, the Court invited the Acting Solicitor General to file a brief. 06/23/2020 Reply Download Reply filed in support of motion for leave to file bill of complaint. Montana and Wyoming told the Court that their sovereign interests were at stake and that their injuries were redressable. They also said Washington’s denial of the certification was discriminatory in violation of the Commerce Clause and Foreign Commerce Clause. 06/08/2020 Brief Download Brief filed by Washington in opposition to motion for leave to file complaint. Washington Asked Supreme Court to Reject Montana and Wyoming’s Challenge to Denial of Certification for Coal Export Terminal. The State of Washington filed a brief in the U.S. Supreme Court opposing Montana and Wyoming’s motion for leave to file a bill of complaint alleging that Washington violated the dormant Commerce Clause and Foreign Commerce Clause by denying a Clean Water Act Section 401 certification for a coal export terminal. Washington argued that the issues raised by Montana and Wyoming were related to a private dispute and were being addressed in other state and federal courts. Washington also argued that reversal of the denial of the Section 401 certification would not allow the project to proceed. In addition, Washington contended that the claims were meritless because the denial was “based on valid environmental concerns specifically authorized by federal law, not discriminatory motives,” and the denial of a single permit did not amount to an “embargo” or “blockade” on the transport of coal from Montana and Wyoming through Montana. 03/24/2020 Amicus Brief Download Amicus brief filed by Kentucky and 16 other states in support of plaintiffs. 03/20/2020 Amicus Brief Download Brief filed by National Mining Association and National Association of Manufacturers as amici curiae in support of plaintiffs' motion for leave to file a bill of complaint. 01/24/2020 Bill of Complaint Download Motion for leave to file bill of complaint, bill of complaint, and brief in support filed. Montana and Wyoming Asked Supreme Court to Consider Claims That Washington Impermissibly Blocked Access for Coal Shipments. Montana and Wyoming filed a motion for leave to file a bill of complaint in the U.S. Supreme Court asserting that the State of Washington had denied access to its ports for shipments of Montana and Wyoming’s coal in violation of the dormant Commerce Clause and the Foreign Commerce Clause. Montana and Wyoming alleged that the Washington’s denial of a Section 401 certification for the Millennium Bulk Terminal was based on Washington officials’ “discriminatory favoritism of Washington products over Montana and Wyoming coal”; the Washington governor’s political opposition to coal; and “perceived extra-territorial environmental impacts of coal combustion in foreign markets.” The two states argued that the “seriousness and dignity” of their claims warranted exercise of the Court’s original jurisdiction and that they had no other forum in which to pursue their claims.