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Ben Oehrleins & Sons & Daughter, Inc. v. Hennepin County

Citation: 28 ELR 20048
No. Nos. 96-2120, -2170, 115 F.3d 1372/(8th Cir., 06/09/1997)

The court holds that county ordinance provisions directing solid waste to designated in-state facilities do not discriminate against interstate commerce; however, provisions that prevent the delivery of waste to out-of-state processors violate the U.S. Commerce Clause. The court first holds that the waste haulers and processors have standing to challenge the ordinance. The haulers have suffered an actual or imminent injury-in-fact, and the processors have alleged a sufficient injury-in-fact. In addition, the injuries are directly traceable to the county's enactment and enforcement of the waste ordinance, and a decision that the ordinance is unconstitutional would redress those injuries. However, the court holds that prudential considerations bar the waste generators from challenging the ordinance. The waste generators are asserting the third-party rights of the haulers to be free from regulation, and their alleged injury is not within the zone of interests protected by the Commerce Clause. The court then holds that the Tax Injunction Act does not bar federal jurisdiction. The ordinance's primary purpose is regulatory, rather than revenue-raising. Next, because the ordinance defines "designated waste" as waste bound for disposal within the state and waste bound for delivery out-of-state, the court separately considers intrastate and interstate enforcement of the ordinance. The court then holds that the interstate enforcement of the ordinance cannot survive strict scrutiny and violates the Commerce Clause. The initial immediate purpose and effect of the ordinance was to grant an absolute preference to a particular local interest at the expense of all others. Thus, the ordinance discriminates against interstate commerce and is subject to strict scrutiny, from which it cannot survive. Next, the court holds that the intrastate designation does not discriminate against interstate commerce, because there is no differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests. The only preference granted to the designated facilities is with respect to other local operators. But the court remands the case for a determination of whether the burden imposed on commerce by the intrastate designation clearly outweighs the putative local benefits.

Counsel for Appellees
David A. Ranheim
Dorsey & Whitney
220 S. 6th St., Minneapolis MN 55402
(612) 340-2600

Counsel for Appellant
Charles N. Nauen
Schatz, Paquin, Lockridge, Grindal & Holstein
100 Washington Ave. S., Ste. 2200, Minneapolis MN 55401
(612) 339-6900

Before Wollman and Laughrey,1 JJ.