Federal District Court Rejects Challenge to NY's Rockland County Flow Control Law

In one of the most significant decisions on flow control since the United States Supreme Court's landmark decision in United Haulers Ass'n v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, 550 U.S. 330 (2007), the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York has rejected a challenge to the County of Rockland, New York's Flow Control Law. The County's Flow Control Law requires that all commercial and residential yard waste, solid waste, construction and demolition debris, scrap metals, and recyclables generated within Rockland County be delivered to a designated facility owned by the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority (the "Authority").

The Plaintiffs in the case, entitled C&A Carbone et al. v County of Rockland et al. 08-cv-06459, included a national trade group in the solid waste industry and a local private waste hauling and processing company. They alleged that the County's Flow Control Law discriminated against interstate commerce in large part because the law directed county waste to designated facilities that the Authority operated via contracts with private entities, which Plaintiffs alleged did not fall within the ambit of United Haulers. In ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment, Judge Edgardo Ramos held that "flow control enabled more efficient and more effective enforcement of waste management laws" and that "the Rockland Law did not discriminate against interstate commerce." The Court held that "public ownership alone suffices" to pass constitutional muster.

Members of PLDW's Municipal Infrastructure Team defended the County and the Authority in this litigation. Teno A. West, PLDW Partner and Municipal Infrastructure Team Leader, has represented the Authority for more than 20 years. In such capacity, he has assisted the Authority with system expansion, solid waste management, and procurement of services.

Source: C&A Carbone et al. v County of Rockland et al. 08-cv-06459

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