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SEABOARD TANK LINES v. PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION (12/23/85)

decided: December 23, 1985.

SEABOARD TANK LINES, INC., PETITIONER
v.
PENNSYLVANIA PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission in the case of Application of Machise Interstate Transportation Company for an amendment to permit the transportation of petroleum products, in bulk, in tank vehicles, between points in Pennsylvania on and east of U.S. Highway Route 15, No. A.102191, F.1, Am-D, dated March 16, 1984.

COUNSEL

Peter G. Loftus, for appellant.

Alan Kohler, Assistant Counsel, with him, Alfred N. Lowenstein, Deputy Chief Counsel, and Charles F. Hoffman, Chief Counsel, for respondent.

A. Taylor Williams, with him, Alan Kahn, Abrahams & Lowenstein, for intervenor, Machise Interstate Transportation.

J. Bruce Walter, Rhoads & Sinon, for Amicus Curiae, Nelson's Express, Inc. and Hess Trucking Co.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., and Judges Rogers, Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry and Palladino. Opinion by Judge Barry.

Author: Barry

[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 603]

This appeal results from an order of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) which affirmed the decision of an administrative law judge (ALJ) granting the application of Machise Interstate Transportation (Machise) for an amendment to its certificate of public convenience.

Machise is a New Jersey trucking corporation engaged in the transport of petroleum products, operating in Pennsylvania and holding a certificate from the PUC since 1980. In March, 1983, Machise filed an application to amend its certificate in order to expand its authority to transport petroleum products. Seaboard Tank Lines (Seaboard) shortly thereafter entered a protest against the application, stating that it possessed a certificate encompassing the applicant's requested area of operation, and alleging, among other things, that the proposed service would be competitive with and detrimental to Seaboard's pre-existing service, and that the existing service was adequate.

Hearings were held before an ALJ, at which Machise presented testimony from several shippers attesting to their desire to deal with Machise in the involved territory, and to their satisfactory experiences with Machise in the past. Seaboard presented testimony regarding its operations in the area of the proposed amendment, with which it sought to establish that Seaboard and the other authorized carriers had satisfied the requirements of local shippers. Seaboard also presented testimony to the effect that it had approximately ten per cent of its fleet available to handle any excess needs.

The ALJ premised his decision on the PUC's transportation regulatory policy statement,*fn1 promulgated

[ 93 Pa. Commw. Page 604]

    by the PUC in 1982. The ALJ found that convincing testimony had been submitted to enable Machise to have met its burden of proof of demonstrating that the proposed service was responsive to public demand or need. Likewise, Machise was found to possess the logistical and fiscal capabilities required under the policy for authority to provide the expanded service. Finally, the ALJ found no danger of disservice to the public interest in permitting the Machise amendment, finding specifically that Seaboard, the only protestant,*fn2 was not in a position of being unduly harmed by the grant of the application. Having ...


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