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When Do State Transmission Siting Laws Violate the Constitution?

14 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2015 Last revised: 27 Jan 2016

Alexandra B. Klass

University of Minnesota Law School

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Date Written: September 17, 2015

Abstract

Many state electric power transmission line siting laws present constitutional problems under the dormant Commerce Clause, specifically statutes that bar out-of-state applicants from seeking to build multi-state energy infrastructure projects in a state or give automatic rights of first refusal to in-state applicants. Dormant Commerce Clause jurisprudence may require state regulators considering transmission line siting applications to consider benefits beyond their jurisdictional borders — particularly in instances where developers propose infrastructure projects to create regional (as opposed to state-specific) benefits in energy markets or where out-of-state developers propose to build interstate lines. This Article assesses the merits and challenges of these kinds of legal challenges to state transmission line siting regimes.

Keywords: Dormant Commerce Clause, Energy Law, Electric Power, Transmission, Infrastructure, Renewable Power

Suggested Citation

Klass, Alexandra B. and Rossi, Jim, When Do State Transmission Siting Laws Violate the Constitution? (September 17, 2015). Electricity Journal, vol 28, issue 7, pp. 6-18 (2015); Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper No. 15-44; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2705025

Alexandra B. Klass

University of Minnesota Law School ( email )

229 19th Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55455
United States
612-625-0155 (Phone)

Jim Rossi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

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