Supreme Court Set to Tackle 'Flow Control' in January

Date: November 13, 2006

Source: News Room

The Supreme Court is set in January to weigh in once again on whether local governments can restrict waste movement, a tactic known as flow control. Back in 1994, the High Court ruled in its landmark C&A Carbone Inc. vs. Clarkstown case that flow control was illegal because it violated the commerce clause of the US Constitution. But in United Haulers Association Inc. et al. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority et al. the court is to review a 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that granted a flow control exemption to publicly owned facilities. Here the court justified the exemption by employing the Pike balancing test to determine if the burden on interstate commerce was outweighed by public benefit. At stake are issues of whether waste should instead be seen as a public risk and therefore subject to local control and whether communities that seek to manage their own environmental liabilities can do so outside the realm of the marketplace.

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