Industry Lines up to Oppose California Landfill Restriction

Date: September 14, 2011

Source: News Room

A number of industry groups and two California counties are lining up in support of the Potrero Hills Landfill and Solano County, CA in their battle with environmental groups that have sued to prevent the landfill from continuing to accept out-of-county waste. The case is significant because of its implications to other communities across the country that might also seek to restrict waste imports or seek further justification for doing so, and for the landfill’s owner Waste Connections (Folsom, CA), which made a $ 100 million investment in the landfill when it bought it from Republic Services in March 2009. About that time, several organizations, including the Sierra Club, filed lawsuits seeking to block the landfill from expanding by asking the Court to recognize a never-enforced 19-year-old voter initiative called Measure E that restricts any Solano County landfill from accepting more than 95,000 tons per year of waste from outside the county. Potrero Hills receives about 850,000 tons per year of waste from surrounding counties. Waste Connections had to appeal the case when a Superior Court judge ruled in favor of Measure E in May last year.

In support of the company are a number of industry groups led by the National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), which this week filed an amicus brief in the Court of Appeal for the State of California arguing that Measure E was never enforced in part because the county believed it to be unconstitutional and that it “creates a dangerous precedent that could lead to a patchwork of discriminatory and protectionist solid waste bans from cities and counties across the country, thereby harming the national infrastructure, economy and public health,” said NSWMA President and CEO Bruce Parker in a statement. David Biderman, general counsel for the association, added, “For decades, U.S. courts have struck down protectionist barriers such as this Solano County measure as incompatible with the Commerce Clause. Measure E isolates Solano County from waste originating in other parts of California and in other states. We urge the California Court of Appeals to strike down this unconstitutional law.”

Working outside of the courts, Waste Connections is hoping for passage of a bill called AB 1178 that would prohibit any city or county ordinance or voter initiative from restricting or limiting the importation of waste into a privately owned facility in that city or county based on place of origin.

See also:
“Judge Allows California County to Restrict Waste Imports,” (www.wastebusinessjournal.com/news/wbj20100518C.htm).

“Waste Coalition Files Suit to Fight Waste Ban in Northern California,” (www.wastebusinessjournal.com/news/wbj20090908A.htm).

“Waste Connections Buys Big California Landfill from Republic,” (www.wastebusinessjournal.com/news/wbj20090324A.htm).

PRESS RELEASE
September 14, 2011

NSWMA Files Amicus Brief in Support of Open Borders

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) in early September filed an amicus brief in the Court of Appeal for the State of California supporting Potrero Hills Landfill and Solano County in their legal battle over Solano County’s Measure E, a local voter initiative that effectively bans solid waste and recyclables originating outside Solano County from being imported to facilities located in the county. Several organizations, including the Sierra Club, filed lawsuits seeking enforcement of Measure E in 2009 as part of their strategy to block the expansion of the Potrero Hills Landfill. Believing the Measure is unconstitutional, Solano County has not enforced the measure for at least 19 years.

NSWMA, the national group that represents garbage and recycling collectors, was joined in its amicus brief by a broad coalition, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the California Manufacturers and Technology Association, the California Refuse and Recycling Council, and the Los Angeles County Solid Waste Management Association. The 17 amici curiae who filed briefs opposing the enforcement of Measure E include the Attorney General of the State of California acting on behalf of the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, the California Association of Sanitation Agencies and the City and County of San Francisco.

NSWMA’s President and CEO Bruce J. Parker describing the importance of this case, stated, “The ability to manage the movement across local, regional and state lines of the quarter-billion tons of solid waste and recyclables Americans produce annually is a critical component of the national infrastructure, economy and public health. By imposing a de facto ban on the importation of solid waste from other parts of California and other states, Measure E creates a dangerous precedent that could lead to a patchwork of discriminatory and protectionist solid waste bans from cities and counties across the country, thereby harming the national infrastructure, economy and public health.”

David Biderman, the general counsel for NSWMA continued, “For decades, U.S. courts have struck down protectionist barriers such as this Solano County measure as incompatible with the Commerce Clause. Measure E isolates Solano County from waste originating in other parts of California and in other states. We urge the California Court of Appeals to strike down this unconstitutional law.”

NSWMA has a long history of fighting similar laws. For decades, NSWMA has opposed and successfully challenged such laws in counties and localities throughout the country.

About NSWMA

NSWMA – a sub-association of the Environmental Industry Associations – represents for-profit companies in North America that provide solid, hazardous and medical waste collection, recycling and disposal services, and companies that provide professional and consulting services to the waste services industry. NSWMA members conduct business in all 50 states.

For more information, contact:
David Biderman
NSWMA, 202-364-3743

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