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Philadelphia, City of v. State

Citation: 7 ELR 20818
376 A.2d 888/73 N.J. 562, (N.J., 06/20/1977) Prior judgment reaff'd

The court reaffirms its prior judgment upholding the validity of the New Jersey Waste Control Act after determining that the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976, ELR STAT. & REG. 41901, does not preempt the state's control and management of solid waste disposal. The principal purpose of the state law is to prohibit the disposal within New Jersey of waste originating out of the state. A prior decision of the New Jersey Supreme Court, Hackensack Meadowlands Comm'n v. Municipal Sanitary Landfill Auth., 6 ELR 20356, found the state act constitutional but on appeal the United States Supreme Court vacated the judgment and remanded it for consideration of the extent to which the newly passed federal statute preempted the state law. With regard to disposal of hazardous wastes, the court concludes that federal regulation is not exclusive, and the states are not preempted from imposing more stringent standards within their own borders. New Jersey's ban on the receipt of outside wastes is an exercise of the state's police power and Congress intended to preserve the authority for the states. The federal statute encourages state action, and the intent of Congress was only to offer guidance and technical and fiscal support to the states. A state's refusal to accept the recommendations in federal guidelines would result only in ineligibility to receive federal assistance. Since the federal law does not preempt more stringent state regulation of solid waste disposal, the validity of New Jersey's Waste Control Act must be upheld.

Counsel for Plaintiffs-Respondents
Herbert F. Moore, Arthur C. Meisel
Jamieson, McCardell, Moore, Peskin & Spicer
194 Nassau St., Princeton NJ 08540
(609) 924-0840

Counsel for Defendants-Appellants
Stephen Skillman, Ass't Attorney General (with William F. Hyland, Attorney General; Peter J. Herzberg, Nathan M. Edelstein, Deputy Attorneys General)
Dep't of Law & Safety
State House Annex, Trenton NJ 08625
(609) 292-4925

Mountain, J. with Hughes, C.J., Sullivan, Pashman, Clifford, Schreiber, and Handler, JJ.

For reaffirmance as modified: Chief Justice HUGHES, and Justices MOUNTAIN, SULLIVAN, PASHMAN, CLIFFORD, SCHREIBER and HANDLER — 6.

For reversal: None.