Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians v. Federal Power Commission

PETITIONER: Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians
RESPONDENT: Federal Power Commission
LOCATION: Interstate Highway 5, approximately 4 miles south of San Clemente

DOCKET NO.: 73-1380
DECIDED BY: Burger Court (1972-1975)
LOWER COURT: United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit

CITATION: 420 US 395 (1975)
ARGUED: Jan 13, 1975
DECIDED: Mar 03, 1975

ADVOCATES:
Joseph J. Brecher - for the Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians and others
Lawrence G. Wallace - argued the cause for the Federal Power Commission in all cases
Northcutt Ely - for Arizona Public Service Company and others

Facts of the case

Question

Media for Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians v. Federal Power Commission

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - January 13, 1975 in Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians v. Federal Power Commission

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - March 03, 1975 in Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians v. Federal Power Commission

Warren E. Burger:

Mr. Justice Stewart will announce a group of three consolidated cases and two consolidated cases.

Potter Stewart:

Taking the three first, they are No. 73-1380, Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians and others against the Federal Power Commission and others, No. 73-1666 Arizona Public Service Company and others, Petitioners, against the Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians, and 73-1667, the Federal Power Commission, Petitioner, against the Chemehuevi Tribe of Indians and others.

In these three cases, we review a single judgment of the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to determine whether thermal electric power generating plants that draw cooling water from navigable streams are subject to the licensing jurisdiction of the Federal Power Commission under Part I of the Federal Power Act.

We have concluded that such power plants are not subject to that jurisdiction.

The question is an important one but the Court's opinion does not lend itself to extensive oral announcement involving as it does complex statutory analysis and a review of some 54 years of legislative history.

Suffice it to say that for the reasons discussed in considerable detail in the written opinion filed today, the judgment before us is vacated and the cases are remanded to the Court of Appeals with directions to enter a judgment affirming the Commission's dismissal of the complaint for a lack of jurisdiction.