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California Court Rules Against County Landfill Import Restriction

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The California appeals court ruled in favor of a state law that prohibits the limitation of out-of-county waste that could be disposed of in landfills in Solano County.

The California Court of Appeal ruled California’s AB 845, a 2012 law that prohibits discrimination against out-of-county waste, pre-empts Solano County’s Measure E, passed in 1984, that sought to limit out-of-county waste. The San Francisco-based Sierra Club had sued to have Measure E upheld to block the expansion of the Potrero Hills Landfill near Suisun City, according to the unanimous court decision. The landfill serves communities both inside and outside the county.

“It would be a hollow and pointless exercise to disregard the plain effect of Assembly Bill No. 845 and direct the county to enforce Measure E,” according to the court opinion.

The court also rejected the Sierra Club’s argument that it was entitled to an attorney fee award in the case. Solano County agreed with Potrero Hills landfill about AB 845 overruling Measure E.

“We’re very pleased with the Court of Appeal’s ruling and glad that the court has ratified the legislature’s decision that prohibits arbitrary and discriminatory restrictions on management of solid waste and recyclable materials,” said Jim Dunbar, manager of Potrero Hills Landfill, in an e-mail from Jimmy Slaughter, counsel for the landfill.


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