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United Waste Sys. of Iowa, Inc. v. Wilson

Citation: 30 ELR 20088
No. No. 98-3594, 189 F.3d 762/(8th Cir., 09/07/1999)

The court holds that Iowa's solid waste disposal program does not violate the federal Commerce Clause. The state program forbids garbage haulers from transporting a county's or city's waste to a facility not designated in that county's or city's comprehensive waste management plan. The court first holds that the program's effect on interstate commerce is, at most, extremely attenuated, remote, incidental, and highly speculative. The state does not force cities to contract with a particular landfill, and waste can be sent beyond the state's borders. Although a city or county that contracts with a state landfill is bound to utilize only that landfill, the comprehensive plan can be amended and a new landfill designated. Moreover, a solid waste company's alleged loss of future business that would restrict buying out-of-state goods is barely believable and demonstrates an attenuated effect on interstate commerce. The court next holds that the state program does not evince a purposeful or unintentional design to discriminate in favor of local businesses. The program is evenhanded, and tracking and controlling in-state waste are legitimate state objectives. Further, heightened scrutiny is inappropriate because the program's local benefit easily outweighs any minimal effect on interstate commerce.

Counsel for Appellants
James L. Pray
Brown & Winick
Two Ruan Center
601 Locust St., Des Moines IA 50309
(515) 283-2076

Counsel for Appellee
David L. Dorff
Attorney General's Office
Hoover Bldg., 2d Fl., Des Moines IA 50319
(515) 281-5164

Before Loken and Murphy, JJ.