Pennsylvania State Supreme Court Rules Against Recycling Admin Fees

Date: December 4, 2006

Source: News Room

The Pennsylvania State Supreme Court has put an end to "administrative fees" charged by more than half of the state's 67 counties to help pay for recycling programs. The ruling is the result of a 2002 lawsuit filed in Lycoming County by the Pennsylvania Independent Waste Haulers Association. Lycoming County Judge Dudley N. Anderson agreed with the Association that the fees were a hidden tax and were pre-empted by the state's Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act, commonly known as Act 101. The Commonwealth Court affirmed Anderson and overturned a Lehigh County decision that stated administrative fees were legal. John Frederick, executive director of the Professional Recyclers of Pennsylvania worries that the ruling will hurt the smaller and moderately sized counties that depend on supplemental fees to cover the costs of rural drop-off sites and special programs for hazardous household wastes and scrap tires. Haulers had complained that the fees ate into their own expenses by turning them into surrogate tax collectors.

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