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[GreenYes] US Supreme Court upholds New York county "flow control" ordinances

"... laws favoring local government may be directed toward any number
of legitimate goals unrelated to protectionism. Here, the ordinances
enable the Counties to pursue particular policies with respect to
waste handling and treatment, while allocating the costs of those
policies on citizens and businesses according to the volume of waste
they generate. The contrary approach of treating public and private
entities the same under the dormant Commerce Clause would lead to
unprecedented and unbounded interference by the courts with state and
local government. The Counties' citizens could have left the entire
matter of waste management services for the private sector, in which
case any regulation they undertook could not discriminate against
interstate commerce. But it was also open to them to vest
responsibility for the matter with their government, and to adopt
flow control ordinances to support the government effort. It is not
the office of the Commerce Clause to control the voters' decision in
this regard. The Court is particularly hesitant to interfere here
because waste disposal is typically and traditionally a function of
local government exercising its police power."

This is a significant US Supreme Court decision upholding the right
of local governments (in this case, two counties in New York State,
USA) to regulate garbage when there is a public purpose. It sets
limits on the scope of the Carbone decision (originating in New
Jersey). Note that the decision wasn't unanimous and the reasoning
complicated, suggesting that this particular issue will be back.


Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA
cell 302.299.6783
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