Back to Publications

Coal Transportation in the 1980's: Public Policy in Transition

Eugene D. Gulland, Proceedings of 28th Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute (1982)

The true character of a revolution, it has been said, consists of efforts to bring laws and institutions in line with underlying changes in economic and social circumstances that have already taken place.1 The revolutionary analogy offers a fitting perspective on the protracted, often chaotic attempts of Congress and the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to adapt current coal transportation regulation to current economic realities.

The old regulatory order has been destroyed more by changed economic circumstances than by the recent transportation legislation that has tried to cope with them. And despite nearly a decade of struggle by coal producers, consumers, and railroads to establish a new regulatory regime, it is by no means yet in place.