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Sierra Club v. County of Solano

ELR Citation: 43 ELR 20181
Nos. A130682 et al., (Cal. Ct. App. 1st Dist., 07/31/2013)

A California appellate court held that a newly enacted state law that prohibits counties from restricting or limiting the importation of solid waste into a privately owned facility in the county based on the waste's place of origin preempts a voter-approved 1984 initiative measure that severely restricts the amount of solid waste that can be imported into the county. The case arose after environmental and citizen groups challenged the county's approval of a landfill expansion, arguing that it violated the 1984 law, known as "Measure E." Due to constitutional concerns, the trial court modified Measure E to apply only to intrastate waste and not to waste generated outside of California. It then directed the county to comply with and enforce Measure E as judicially modified. The parties appealed, but the state has since enacted the 2013 law, which expressly prohibits counties from discriminating against solid waste importation based on place of origin. The new law, therefore, renders Measure E void and unenforceable, thereby mooting the appeals of the court order directing the county to enforce Measure E as judicially rewritten.