A U.S. District Court has issued a permanent injunction on the flow control ordinance enacted by the City of Dallas, Texas.
Effective January 2, 2012, the flow control ordinance would have required commercial trash haulers to dispose of all of the solid waste, including loads of recyclable materials that have even a trace amount of waste, collected in the city to Dallas’ single landfill located in the far southern sector of the city.
In January of 2012, U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor ruled that the flow control law impairs waste haulers’ rights and would impede ongoing contractual relationships. That decision was upheld on October 16, 2012.
The court determined that the city enacted the law for economic gain “at the expense of the franchisees’ rights and that was an unreasonable exercise of its police powers.”
In December of 2011, Dallas delayed implementing the ordinance while it waited for a ruling on the injunction.
The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA) and other opponents have sued the city over the ordinance due to increased costs.
NSWMA’s President and CEO, Sharon Kneiss, commented on the case in an October 16, 2012 statement.
“NSWMA is very gratified by the District Court’s decision in this case,” Kneiss said. “Our efforts – especially those of NSWMA’s Texas Chapter – demonstrate NSWMA will not hesitate to protect the rights of its members and our industry and promote free enterprise.”
John Skinner, Executive Director and CEO of the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) also weighed in on the recent ruling.
“…This decision in no way undermines the constitutional right of local governments to enact ordinances to require haulers to deliver locally generated solid waste to publically owned transfer or disposal facilities, as upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 2007 United Haulers decision,” Skinner said “The judge’s ruling is based on how he interprets the hauler franchise agreements at question in this case as well as state and city law issues. Therefore it’s hard to say how the decision might resonate elsewhere in Texas, not to mention other parts of the country. The Dallas decision does emphasize that when local governments institute flow control ordinances they need to be vigilant in observing state and local legal requirements and existing franchise agreements.”