U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in flow control case

The United States Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in United Haulers Assoc. Inc. v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, in which private haulers say the upstate New York waste authority violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution by passing ordinances requiring haulers to take trash to a publicly owned and operated landfill.

In March, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the Commerce Clause was not violated, contrasting with the rulings in other prominent flow control cases, including NSWMA v. Daviess County, Ky. If the Supreme Court upholds the Second Circuit ruling, it could have profound effect on how waste is transported in the United States.

David Biderman, general counsel for the National Solid Wastes Management Association, which filed an amicus brief in the case in support of the United Haulers Association, says his organization was pleased with today’s arguments. In a press release, he characterized several justices as “openly hostile to the waste authority’s argument that its laws establishing a local waste monopoly do not violate the Commerce Clause.”

A decision in the case is expected by July.