Creating Flexibility in Interstate Compacts

Jeffers, Emily
May 2009
Ecology Law Quarterly;2009, Vol. 36 Issue 2, p209
Academic Journal
States have relied upon interstate compacts to solve issues crossing jurisdictional lines since the early years of the republic. The interpretation of one such agreement, written in 1905 to resolve a fishing dispute between Delaware and New Jersey, was presented to the Supreme Court in New Jersey v. Delaware. Deciding a case with significant energy implications for the Mid- Atlantic region, the Court held that the 1905 Compact did not give New Jersey authority to build a liquid natural gas terminal on its shore of the Delaware River without permission from Delaware. This case highlights the difficulties in relying on a static document to solve complex interstate disputes. Because litigation is often ill-suited to resolve these controversies, restructuring interstate compacts to allow for greater flexibility would allow signatory states to adapt to future developments without an expensive and time consuming original jurisdiction lawsuit before the Supreme Court.


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