NSWMA Files Suit Over Dallas Flow Control Law

The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), Waste Management Inc., Republic Services Inc. and others filed a suit against the city of Dallas in U.S. District Court to stop the city’s new law implementing of flow control.  

 The suit calls flow control “an anti-free-enterprise action by the city that is contrary “to both state and federal law.” 

“It is clear from the history of this ordinance that its sole purpose is to generate revenue, and not to address any health or safety issues or any other problem with the recycling or disposal of commercial waste in the city,” said NSWMA attorney Jim Harris of the law firm Thompson & Knight, in a news release. “Instead of increasing recycling, the ordinance will actually decrease recycling and may even endanger the city’s residential recycling program.”

In an interview response to the suit, Mary Nix, Dallas director of sanitation, said, “The city has carefully studied the court cases involving flow control laws before enacting its own ordinance. The city believes its ordinance is valid and will defend it vigorously.”

The flow control ordinance, scheduled to take effect Jan. 2, would require commercial trash haulers to dispose of all solid waste, including loads of recyclable materials that contain any waste, at Dallas’ single landfill on the edge of the city.

 “This ordinance also would rewrite long-term contracts the haulers have with the city that allow them to get the best deal for their customers by using competing landfills and other existing recycling facilities,” said Tom Brown, chairman of the NSWMA Texas chapter. “The city is rewriting the contracts to create a monopoly at the McCommas Bluff landfill so it can address budget shortfalls. The law doesn't allow the city to renege on a deal just because of tough economic times.”

Besides NSWMA, other parties filing the complaint were Bluebonnet Waste Control Inc., IESI TX Corp., Republic Waste Services of Texas Ltd., Allied Waste System Inc., Camelt Landfill TX LP, Waste Management of Texas Inc., WM Recycle America LLC and Businesses Against Flow Control.

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