State v. State, No. 132, ORIG.

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtJustice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.
Citation130 S.Ct. 2295,176 L.Ed.2d 1070,560 U.S. 330
Docket NumberNo. 132, ORIG.
Decision Date01 June 2010
PartiesState of ALABAMA, State of Florida, State of Tennessee, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Southeast Interstate Low–Level Radioactive Waste Management Commission, Plaintiffs, v. State of NORTH CAROLINA.

560 U.S. 330
130 S.Ct.
2295
176 L.Ed.2d 1070

State of ALABAMA, State of Florida, State of Tennessee, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Southeast Interstate Low–Level Radioactive Waste Management Commission, Plaintiffs,
v.
State of NORTH CAROLINA.

No. 132, ORIG.

Supreme Court of the United States

Argued Jan. 11, 2010.
Decided June 1, 2010.


Opinion

Justice SCALIA delivered the opinion of the Court.

560 U.S. 334

In this case, which arises under our original jurisdiction, U.S. Const., Art. III, § 2, cl. 2; 28 U.S.C. § 1251(a), we consider nine exceptions submitted by the parties to two reports filed by the Special Master.

I

In 1986, Congress granted its consent under the Compact Clause, U.S. Const., Art. I, § 10, cl. 3, to seven interstate compacts providing for the creation of regional facilities to dispose of low-level radioactive waste. Omnibus Low–Level Radioactive Waste Interstate Compact Consent Act, 99 Stat. 1859. One of those compacts was the Southeast Interstate Low–Level Radioactive Waste Management Compact (Compact), entered into by Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina,

130 S.Ct. 2303

South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Id., at 1871–1880. That Compact established an “instrument and framework for a cooperative effort” to develop new facilities for the long-term disposal of low-level radioactive waste generated within the region. Art. 1, id., at 1872. The Compact was to be administered by a Southeast Interstate Low–Level Radioactive Waste Management Commission (Commission), composed of two voting members from each party State. Art. 4(A), id., at 1874.

A pre-existing facility in Barnwell, South Carolina was to serve as the initial facility for regional generators to dispose of their low-level radioactive waste. Art. 2(10), id., at 1873. That facility was scheduled to close as the regional-disposal facility for the Compact by the end of 1992, ibid., and so the Compact required the Commission to develop “ procedures

560 U.S. 335

and criteria for identifying ... a host [S]tate for the development of a second regional disposal facility,” and to “seek to ensure that such facility is licensed and ready to operate as soon as required but in no event later than 1991,” Art. 4(E)(6), id., at 1875. The Compact authorized the Commission to “designate” a party State as a host State for the facility. Art. 4(E)(7), ibid.

In September 1986, the Commission designated North Carolina as the host for the second facility. North Carolina therefore became obligated to “take appropriate steps to ensure that an application for a license to construct and operate a [low-level radioactive waste storage facility] is filed with and issued by the appropriate authority.” Art. 5(C), id., at 1877. In 1987, North Carolina's General Assembly created the North Carolina Low–Level Radioactive Waste Management Authority (Authority) to fulfill the State's obligation. N.C. Gen.Stat. § 104G (1987), 1987 N.C. Sess. Laws ch. 850.

Although “[t]he Commission is not responsible for any costs associated with,” among other things, “the creation of any facility,” Art. 4(K)(1), 99 Stat. 1876, North Carolina asked the Commission for financial assistance with building and licensing costs. The Commission responded by adopting a resolution, which declared it was both “appropriate and necessary” for the Commission “to provide financial assistance” to North Carolina. App. 63. To that end, the Commission created a “Host States Assistance Fund” to help North Carolina with the “financial costs and burdens” of “preliminary planning, the administrative preparation, and other pre-operational” activities. Id., at 64.

The estimate in 1989 was that it would cost approximately $21 million and take two years to obtain a license for North Carolina's regional-disposal facility. That proved to be wildly optimistic. By 1990, the cost estimate had ballooned to $45.8 million, and the estimated date for obtaining a license now extended far into 1993. At the beginning of 1994 there still was no license, and the estimated cost had grown

560 U.S. 336

to $87.1 million. By end of 1994 the estimate was $112.5 million, and issuance of a license was not anticipated until 1997. And by December 1996 the estimated cost had increased by another $27 million and the projected date to receive a license had become August 2000.

North Carolina's own appropriations—approximately $27 million from Fiscal Year 1988 through Fiscal Year (FY) 1995—did not cover the costs of the licensing phase. But during the same time period, the Commission provided North Carolina with approximately $67 million. The funds came from surcharges and access fees collected for that purpose from generators disposing of low-level radioactive waste at the pre-existing Barnwell facility. Id., at 71–74, 145.

130 S.Ct. 2304

In July 1995, however, South Carolina withdrew from the Compact, thereby depriving the Commission of continued revenues from the Barnwell facility. In 1996, the Commission accordingly informed North Carolina that it would no longer be able to provide financial support for licensing activities. The Governor of North Carolina responded that the State was not prepared to assume a greater portion of the project's costs, and would not be able to proceed without continued Commission funding. Shortly thereafter the Commission adopted a resolution declaring that it was willing and able to provide additional funds, but calling on North Carolina to work with it to develop long-term funding sources for the facility. From FY 1996 through FY 1998, the Commission provided North Carolina approximately an additional $12.27 million in financial assistance. North Carolina, for its part, continued to provide its own funds toward licensing activities—another $6 million during the same time period.

In August 1997, the Commission notified North Carolina that absent a plan for funding the remaining steps of the licensing phase, it would not disburse additional funds to North Carolina after November 30, 1997. North Carolina

560 U.S. 337

responded that it would not be able to continue without additional guarantees of external funding. On December 1, 1997, the parties having failed to agree upon a long-term financing plan, the Commission ceased financial assistance to North Carolina. By then it had provided almost $80 million.

On December 19, 1997, North Carolina informed the Commission it would commence an orderly shutdown of its licensing project, and since that date has taken no further steps toward obtaining a license for the facility. But it did continue to fund the Authority for several more years, in the hope that the project would resume upon the restoration of external financial assistance. North Carolina maintained the proposed facility site, preserved the work it had completed to date, and retained the Authority's books and records. It also participated in discussions with the Commission, generators of low-level radioactive waste, and other stakeholders regarding options to resolve the financing shortfall. From FY 1988 through FY 2000, North Carolina had expended almost $34 million toward obtaining a license.

In June 1999, after attempts to resolve the funding impasse had failed, Florida and Tennessee filed with the Commission a complaint for sanctions against North Carolina. It alleged that North Carolina had failed to fulfill its obligations under the Compact, and requested (among other things) return of the almost $80 million paid to North Carolina by the Commission, plus interest, as well as damages and attorney's fees. The next month, North Carolina withdrew from the Compact by enacting a law repealing its status as a party State, see 1999 N.C. Sess. Laws ch. 357, as required by Article 7(G) of the Compact.

More than four months later, in December 1999, the Commission held a sanctions hearing. North Carolina did not participate. After the hearing, the Commission concluded that North Carolina had failed to fulfill its obligations under the Compact. It adopted a resolution demanding that North Carolina repay approximately $80 million, plus interest, to

560 U.S. 338

the Commission; pay an additional $10 million penalty to compensate the Commission for the loss of future revenue (surcharges and access fees) it would have received had a facility been completed in North Carolina; and pay the Commission's attorney's fees. North Carolina did not comply.

In July 2000, seeking to enforce its sanctions resolution, the Commission moved

130 S.Ct. 2305

for leave to file a bill of complaint under our original jurisdiction. Southeast Interstate Low–Level Radioactive Waste Management Commission v. North Carolina, No. 131, Orig. North Carolina opposed the motion on the grounds that the Commission could not invoke this Court's original jurisdiction, and we invited the Solicitor General to express the views of the United States. 531 U.S. 942, 121 S.Ct. 337, 148 L.Ed.2d 271 (2000). The Solicitor General filed a brief urging denial of the Commission's motion on the grounds that the Commission's bill of complaint did not fall...

To continue reading

Request your trial
270 practice notes
  • BES Design/Build, LLC v. The United States, 19-1892C
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • November 30, 2021
    ...56(a); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (2021); see also Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 135 S.Ct. 1338, 1355 (2015), Alabama v. North Carolina, 560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010); Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549 (1999); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Shell Oil Co. v. United......
  • California v. United States, No. 17-206C
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • December 20, 2017
    ...and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." RCFC 56(a); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) (2017); see also Alabama v. North Carolina, 560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010); Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549 (1999); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Adickes v. S. H. Kre......
  • S.C. Elec. & Gas Co. v. Whitfield, Civil Action No.: 3:18-cv-01795-JMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 26, 2018
    ...with the States' ability to withstand suit, but with their privilege not to be sued" in the first instance. Alabama v. North Carolina , 560 U.S. 330, 362, 130 S.Ct. 2295, 176 L.Ed.2d 1070 (2010) (quoting P.R. Aqueduct and Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. , 506 U.S. 139, 147, n.5, 113 S.C......
  • Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • May 30, 2017
    ...Clause. See Am. Compl. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 102. The only case Plaintiffs cite to support their contrary position, Alabama v. North Carolina , 560 U.S. 330, 352, 130 S.Ct. 2295, 176 L.Ed.2d 1070 (2010), does not so much as suggest what Plaintiffs claim it holds. There can be little doubt that Congre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
265 cases
  • BES Design/Build, LLC v. The United States, 19-1892C
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • November 30, 2021
    ...56(a); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a) (2021); see also Young v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 135 S.Ct. 1338, 1355 (2015), Alabama v. North Carolina, 560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010); Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549 (1999); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Shell Oil Co. v. United......
  • California v. United States, No. 17-206C
    • United States
    • Court of Federal Claims
    • December 20, 2017
    ...and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." RCFC 56(a); Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a) (2017); see also Alabama v. North Carolina, 560 U.S. 330, 344 (2010); Hunt v. Cromartie, 526 U.S. 541, 549 (1999); Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 247-48 (1986); Adickes v. S. H. Kre......
  • S.C. Elec. & Gas Co. v. Whitfield, Civil Action No.: 3:18-cv-01795-JMC
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court of South Carolina
    • July 26, 2018
    ...with the States' ability to withstand suit, but with their privilege not to be sued" in the first instance. Alabama v. North Carolina , 560 U.S. 330, 362, 130 S.Ct. 2295, 176 L.Ed.2d 1070 (2010) (quoting P.R. Aqueduct and Sewer Auth. v. Metcalf & Eddy, Inc. , 506 U.S. 139, 147, n.5, 113 S.C......
  • Kerpen v. Metro. Wash. Airports Auth., 1:16cv1307 (JCC/TCB)
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 4th Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of Virginia)
    • May 30, 2017
    ...Clause. See Am. Compl. [Dkt. 37] ¶ 102. The only case Plaintiffs cite to support their contrary position, Alabama v. North Carolina , 560 U.S. 330, 352, 130 S.Ct. 2295, 176 L.Ed.2d 1070 (2010), does not so much as suggest what Plaintiffs claim it holds. There can be little doubt that Congre......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
1 books & journal articles
  • Rethinking the Supreme Court’s Interstate Waters Jurisprudence
    • United States
    • Georgetown Environmental Law Review Nbr. 33-2, January 2021
    • January 1, 2021
    ...Colorado, 135 S. Ct. 1042 (2015); Montana v. Wyoming & North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 1034 (2016). 118. See, e.g., Alabama v. North Carolina, 560 U.S. 330, 351–53 (2010) (holding that interstate compacts do not imply a duty of good faith or fair dealing and that a federal court may not order puni......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT