The U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina dismissed claims by Sandlands C&D LLC and its sister company Express Disposal Service LLC to overturn the ordinance, which directs all waste collected inside the county to the county landfill in Conway, S.C.
In dismissing the claims, Judge Terry Wooten said, “the court concludes that the flow control ordinance regulates even-handedly in that the defendants do not discriminate with respect to which private entities can process waste generated in Horry County, provided the waste is processed inside the county and the residual waste goes to the (SWA) solid waste authority landfill,” according to court records.
The judge also said the ordinance’s effects on interstate commerce “are incidental.”
This summer an anti-flow control bill passed the House but did not make it out of the Senate. House Bill 4721 would have prohibited waste flow control in the state and cancel out previous ordinances that restrict or prohibit waste disposal at any permitted solid waste management facility. It applies to recycling as well.
It passed the state’s House in March, but it didn’t advance past a second reading in the Senate, said Mike Bessant, government affairs director for the Horry County Solid Waste Authority, at the time.
Bessant said he was uncertain whether the legislature would take up the proposal again when it was back in session Jan. 1, but there was a good possibility they would.
Responding to the latest court decision and the possibility of legislation re-emerging, Bessant says nothing has been filed in the legislature. While he says "we can't predict the future," he hopes that the legislature will note the court decisions -- the state Supreme Court also has ruled in the county's favor, he says -- and accept that "the Horry County ordinance fulfills a legitimate public purpose and is the best interest of the citizens."