Local Government Flow Control Upheld By U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court, today, issued a decision in the case of United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority. By a 6-3 margin, the high court ruled that local ordinance that direct locally generated wastes to publicly owned waste facilities do not discriminate against interstate commerce. The high court cited "compelling reasons" to justify treating these regulations different from laws favoring particular private businesses over their competitors.A contrary approach, said the court, would lead to "unprecedented interference by the courts with local government."

To help waste management personnel understand what this decisions means for them, SWANA will be offering an interactive E-Session to be held Friday, May 4, 2007 at 2:00 p.m.This online session will address such topics as the United States Constitution Commerce Clause, Carbone Decision, the burden to interstate commerce verses local benefits, and the governmental responsibility for trash disposal.Panelists include: Michael J. Cahill, attorney representing Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority, David Biderman, National Solid Waste Management Authority General Council, and Barry Shanoff, SWANA General Council.

"Congratulations to the professional team at the Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority who successfully defended the system they put in place to serve their citizens," commented John H. Skinner, SWANA Executive Director and CEO, adding "They have provided another option for other local governments to more effectively manage solid wastes and provide recycling services. SWANA supports the court's decision and has already taken steps to educate solid waste management community about changes that are sure to come."

The decision leaves in place a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit upholding county ordinances after a federal district court had ruled that local interests outweighed possible burdens on commerce.

This case is the first time the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled on an issue related to solid waste management for 13 years, the last being C&A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown, New York in 1994.

For more information about the educational session or to register, visit


The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) is an organization of more than 10,000 public and private sector professionals committed to advancing from solid waste management to resource management through their shared emphasis on education, advocacy and research. For more than 60 years, SWANA has been the leading association in the solid waste management field. SWANA serves industry professionals through technical conferences, certifications, publications and a large offering of technical training courses.

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