Interstate compact

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In the United States, an interstate compact is a pact or agreement between two or more states, or between states and any foreign government. The Compact Clause (Article I, Section 10, Clause 3) of the United States Constitution provides that "No State shall, without the Consent of Congress,... enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power,..."[1]

The timing for Congressional consent is not specified by the Constitution, so consent may be given either before or after the states have agreed to a particular compact. The consent may be explicit, but it may also be inferred from circumstances. Congress may also impose conditions as part of its approval of a compact.[2] Congress must explicitly approve any compact that would give a state power that is otherwise designated to the federal government.[3]

Most early interstate compacts resolved boundary disputes, but since the early 20th century, compacts have increasingly been used as a tool of state cooperation.[2] In some cases, an agreement will create a new multi-state governmental agency which is responsible for administering or improving some shared resource such as a seaport or public transportation infrastructure.

Interstate compacts are distinct from Uniform Acts, which are model statutes produced by non-governmental bodies of legal experts to be passed by state legislatures independently, rather than constituting an agreement among multiple states.


Treaties between the states, ratified under the Articles of Confederation during the period after American independence in 1776 until the current U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789, are grandfathered and treated as interstate compacts. This includes agreements like the Treaty of Beaufort, which set the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina in 1787, and is still in effect.

Prior to 1922, most interstate compacts were either border agreements between states or advisory compacts, the latter of which are tasked with conducting joint studies to report back to the respective state legislatures. With the creation of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in 1922, administrative compacts began to develop as a third, more-empowered type of interstate compact, in which persistent governance structures are tasked by member states with conducting designated services.

Today, Virginia is a member of the most interstate compacts at 40, while Hawaii is a member of the fewest at 15.[4]

Operating agencies created by interstate compact[edit]

Borders and land/water administration[edit]



Non-operating interstate compacts[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Power of the States to Make Compacts". The Yale Law Journal. The Yale Law Journal Company. 31 (6): 635–639. April 1922. doi:10.2307/788529. JSTOR 788529.
  2. ^ a b "Compacts Clause | Constitution Annotated | | Library of Congress". Retrieved 2020-04-14.
  3. ^ "Interstate Compacts Fact Sheet" (PDF). Lexington, Kentucky: National Center for Interstate Compacts. Retrieved April 19, 2020.
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ "Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: About Us". Archived from the original on 2004-04-27. Retrieved 2009-06-23.
  6. ^ "Breaks Interstate Park Compact - Ballotpedia".
  7. ^ Upper Colorado River Basin Compact of 1948, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, 1948
  8. ^ "Connecticut River Valley Flood Control Commission - Monitoring flood control dams in the CT River valley".
  9. ^ csebestyen. "Delaware River Basin Commission-Milestones".
  10. ^ "DRPA :: Delaware River Port Authority". Archived from the original on 2009-03-26. Retrieved 2013-08-11.
  11. ^ "Home - ICPRB".
  12. ^ LLC, Yankee Planning Group. "Interstate Environmental Commission".
  13. ^ "Northwest Power & Conservation Council".
  14. ^ "Port Authority of New York & New Jersey".
  15. ^ "Red River Compact Commission".
  16. ^ "Tahoe Regional Planning Agency — TRPA". Tahoe Regional Planning Agency — TRPA.
  17. ^ "Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor (WCNYH)".
  18. ^ "Home - WMATA".
  19. ^ "Welcome to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Commission".
  20. ^ "Midwest Interstate Passenger Rail Compact". National Center for Interstate Compacts (NCIC).
  21. ^ "Virginia-North Carolina High Speed Rail Compact". Virginia DOT.
  22. ^ Klar, Rebecca (April 27, 2020). "Colorado and Nevada join western states cooperating on reopening". The Hill. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  23. ^ Website, ICAOS -. "ICAOS - Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision".
  24. ^ "Welcome". RGGI, Inc.
  25. ^ a b "More Power for States: Good or Bad? | Bacon's Rebellion".
  26. ^ Lahut, Jake (Apr 13, 2020). "New York Gov. Cuomo unveils multistate coalition to reopen economy after coronavirus". Business Insider. Retrieved July 26, 2020.
  27. ^ "ECS Officers and President:ECS Officers for 2011-13". ECS Official Website. Education Commission of the States. c. 2011. Archived from the original on 2012-02-09. Retrieved 2012-02-19. John Hickenlooper, Chair
  28. ^ [2]