WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to review a lower-court ruling striking down an Oklahoma law allowing railroads to be fined for blocking grade crossings longer than 10 minutes.
The Oklahoman newspaper reports the court turned down without comment Oklahoma’s appeal of a decision by the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals which found that federal regulation of rail carriers supersedes the Oklahoma regulation [see “Federal court strikes down Oklahoma blocked-crossing law,” Trains News Wire, Jan 14, 2022]
Oklahoma passed its Blocked Crossing Statute in 2019, and when BNSF Railway was cited under the law, it sued in federal court and was granted temporary and permanent injunctions, with U.S. District Judge Charles B. Goodwin saying that “a statute that tells rarilroad companies how long they may stop their trains — for whatever ends — intrudes on the territory” reserved for federal regulators.
Oklahoma had asked the Supreme Court to take the case, citing conflicting appeals-court rulings, while BNSF said the contention that there were splits was “contrived and non-existent.”