Ordinance Restricting Railways Use of a Storage Facility Permanently Enjoined


On March 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit decided the case of Vermont Railway, Inc. v. Town of Shelburne. The U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont granted the railway a permanent injunction against an ordinance passed by the Town of Shelburne, VT, that placed severe restrictions on the railway’s use of a storage facility to be used for the stockpiling and storage of large quantities of rock salt to be used in the railroad’s winter de-icing operations.

Both the District Court and the Second Circuit held that this ordinance, which affected the operations of the railroad, was preempted by the Interstate Commerce Commission Termination Act, 49 U.S.C.  §§ 10101, et seq., and was not, on this record, a valid exercise of the Town’s police powers. Indeed, the District Court held that the ordinance was discriminatory and did not achieve any meaningful health or safety goals.