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Oxford Assocs. v. Waste Sys. Auth. of E. Montgomery County

Citation: 32 ELR 20276
No. Nos. 00-2936, -2949, 271 F.3d 140/(3d Cir., 11/07/2001)

The court reverses a district court's decision dismissing building owners' U.S. Commerce Clause claims against a waste authority for lack of standing. The building owners maintained that the authority's implementation of a waste generation fee structure effectively forced them to use the local facility to the exclusion of more affordable out-of-state options in contravention of the Commerce Clause. The district court dismissed their claim, holding that the owners' injuries did not fall within the zone of interests protected by the Commerce Clause. The court, however, first holds that as consumers of waste processing services, the building owners are within the zone of interests intended to be protected by the Commerce Clause. The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the Commerce Clause is offended by ordinances that hoard solid waste, and then demand to get rid of it, for the benefit of the preferred processing facility. Here, the fee structure benefits the local facility. Moreover, the building owners are directly involved in this stream of commerce as consumers of the waste processing industry. In paying the waste generation fee, they are directly paying the costs of maintaining the preferred facility and are precluded from accessing less expensive waste processing facilities.

Counsel for Appellants
Kenneth E. Aaron
Weir & Partners
1339 Chestnut St., Ste. 500, Philadelphia PA 19107
(215) 665-8181

Counsel for Appellee
Benjamin E. Zuckerman
Cozen & O'Connor
1900 Market St., Philadelphia PA 19103
(215) 665-2000

Fuentes, J. Before Roth, J., with Barry, J., dissenting.