will have to be closed in the Appalachian region, and supplies of heat to homes in that area will have to be curtailed or ended. Northwest Airlines, which receives over 43 per cent of its fuel requirements at Minneapolis-St. Paul from Ashland, will be forced to curtail service by approximately 17 per cent, and Midway Airlines, which receives 100 per cent of its fuel from Ashland, will be forced to ground one-third of its fleet. The Chessie System Railroad, which receives approximately 25 per cent of its fuel from Ashland, will be forced to disrupt its freight schedules with resulting curtailment of coal production in Appalachia. According to the Director of the West Virginia Energy and Fuel Office, if Ashland receives an allocation of only 62 per cent, "there is no way that our coal industry is going to be able to survive." Ashland supplies around one-quarter of West Virginia's heating oil, kerosene, and gasoline with potentially disastrous consequences this winter in the event of an oil cut-off. Somewhat similar consequences may be expected in Minnesota.
Unquestionably, plaintiffs, too, will suffer some injury as a result of the enforcement of the Department of Energy order, since they will have to divert some crude oil stocks to Ashland.
This, as they point out, will mean that they will either have to replace the oil so diverted with more expensive spot market crude, reduce allocations to existing customers, or replace the products that would be derived from the crude sold to Ashland.
However, it is perfectly obvious, and the record shows, that plaintiffs' injuries in that regard are infinitesimal compared to those of Ashland and its customers. In 1978, plaintiffs had combined sales of $ 208 billion, profits of $ 9.6 billion, and a net worth of $ 74.8 billion. Under the OHA order, their refinery runs will be reduced by from 0.6 to 1.7 per cent and their losses, assuming that they are not compensated therefor in the event they ultimately prevail here or before the administrative agency (but see Infra ) range from 0.14 to 0.92 of their projected 1979 profits. Ashland, on the other hand, as previously noted, is presently losing 25 per cent of its oil supply,
and its customers may well be crippled unless emergency action is taken. To the extent that reductions in sales or purchases in the spot market will be necessary, the problem will obviously be far more manageable to the nine plaintiffs than to Ashland.
Moreover, under the standard of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission v. Holiday Tours, Inc., 182 U.S.App.D.C. 220, 559 F.2d 841 (1977) and Virginia Petroleum Jobbers Ass'n. v. FPC, 104 U.S.App.D.C. 106, 259 F.2d 921 (1958), the burden is on plaintiffs to demonstrate irreparable injury. As noted, when the injuries are balanced it immediately becomes clear that, relatively speaking, those which are inflicted on plaintiffs by the order of the Department of Energy are slight. Moreover, these injuries are not irreparable by any means. See Exxon Corporation v. FEO, CCH Eng.Mgt. P 26,013 (D.D.C.1974).
They are merely financial and can be repaired in the future by financial means. The Department of Energy has the authority to order Ashland to sell crude oil back to plaintiffs in the event plaintiffs ultimately prevail in the administrative proceeding at appropriate prices, and the Department has done just that in at least two previous instances. See Vickers Petroleum Corp., DOE Case No. DEA-0351 (Aug. 2, 1979) and Diamond Shamrock Corp., DOE Case No. 0420 (June 18, 1979). Similarly, the courts have ample authority to make plaintiffs whole in the event that they should ultimately prevail on the merits.
Finally, public interest factors do not favor injunctive relief. The various individuals and businesses dependent upon oil products from Ashland would be severely harmed by issuance of an injunction since its consequence would be an increase in cost at best and an interruption of supplies at worst. Such harm would, of course, be contrary to the public interest. Moreover, the public interest, as expressed on congressional enactments, favors an equitable sharing of the burdens resulting from the world-wide and national oil shortage. Congress has also indicated that it favors the effective survival of the so-called independents, alongside the huge, multinational integrated oil companies, as one means for maintaining a measure of competition in the oil industry. All of these interests are incompatible with an injunction that would allow these plaintiffs to escape sharing the burdens flowing from the ban on imports from Iran and would thrust these burdens instead on a company which, in good faith, and in reliance on U. S. government policy decided to procure its crude oil from that country.
For the reasons stated, it is this 19th day of December, 1979,
ORDERED That plaintiffs' motions for preliminary injunction be and they are hereby denied.