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Waste Recycling, Inc. v. Southeast Ala. Solid Waste Disposal Auth.

Citation: 23 ELR 20907
No. No. 92-T-642-S, 814 F. Supp. 1566/(M.D. Ala., 03/08/1993)

The court holds that three municipal solid waste flow control ordinances governing the collection and disposal of solid waste are unconstitutional. The court first holds that the ordinances violate the Commerce Clause because they unconstitutionally discriminate against interstate commerce on their face and in practical effect. The court holds that the market-participant doctrine does not apply as a defense to the Commerce Clause challenge because the governmental ordinances purpose and effect was to finance the Southeast Alabama Solid Waste Authority by isolating and insulating the region from the economic competition of interstate commerce, and therefore they impermissibly reach outside the markets in which the cities claim to participate, controlling, and regulating the market as a whole. The court holds that the ordinances could not be justified for health and safety reasons. The cities failed to establish that the ordinances were necessary to pursue a comprehensive long-term plan for the management of solid waste of the area, demonstrate why the construction of the new regional facility required a total ban on interstate commerce, or explain why the health and safety needs of the community could be satisfied only by the construction of such a facility. The cities also failed to demonstrate how the ordinances would help the cities prevent illegal dumping and avoid potential liability for cleanup costs at the landfill site.

Counsel for Plaintiffs
Robert F. Northcutt, Charles B. Paterson
Robison & Belser
210 Commerce St., P.O. Drawer 1470, Montgomerty AL 36102
(205) 834-7000

Counsel for Defendants
Woodham W. Cauley Jr., Robert D. Thorington
Thorington & Gregory
504 S. Perry St., P.O. Drawer 1748, Montgomery AL 36103
(205) 834-6222