115 F.3d 1372 (8th Cir. 1997), 96-2120, Ben Oehrleins and Sons and Daughter, Inc. v. Hennepin County

Docket Nº:96-2120, 96-2170.
Citation:115 F.3d 1372
Party Name:BEN OEHRLEINS AND SONS AND DAUGHTER, INC.; Elk River Landfill, Inc.; Gallagher's Service, Inc.; Knutson Services, Inc.; Randy's Sanitation, Inc.; Poor Richard's, Inc.; Vasko Rubbish Removal, Inc.; Wasteco, Inc.; Waste Systems Corp.; Walter's Recycling & Refuse Service, Appellees, v. HENNEPIN COUNTY, Appellant, State of Minnesota, by its Attorney Ge
Case Date:June 09, 1997
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
 
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Page 1372

115 F.3d 1372 (8th Cir. 1997)

BEN OEHRLEINS AND SONS AND DAUGHTER, INC.; Elk River

Landfill, Inc.; Gallagher's Service, Inc.; Knutson

Services, Inc.; Randy's Sanitation, Inc.; Poor Richard's,

Inc.; Vasko Rubbish Removal, Inc.; Wasteco, Inc.; Waste

Systems Corp.; Walter's Recycling & Refuse Service, Appellees,

v.

HENNEPIN COUNTY, Appellant,

State of Minnesota, by its Attorney General and its Office

of Environment Assistance; Ogden Products, Inc.,

Amici Curiae.

ROBINSON RUBBER PRODUCTS, CO., INC.; Dean M. Akins;

Patrick Schoenecker; Brad Robinson, Individually

and on behalf of all other persons

similarly situated, Appellees,

v.

HENNEPIN COUNTY, Appellant,

State of Minnesota, by its Attorney General and its Office

of Environment Assistance, Ogden Products, Inc.,

Amici Curiae.

Nos. 96-2120, 96-2170.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit.

June 9, 1997

Submitted March 12, 1997.

Rehearing and Suggestion for Rehearing En Banc Denied July 10, 1997.

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Charles N. Nauen, Minneapolis, Minnesota, argued (Robert J. Schmit, William A. Gengler, Michael O. Freeman and Toni A. Beitz, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the brief), for Appellant.

David A. Ranheim, Minneapolis, Minnesota, argued (Robert E. Cattanach, Steven J. Wells and Alexandra B. Klass, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the brief), for Appellees.

Jocelyn F. Olson, St. Paul, Minnesota and Hubert H. Humphrey, Attorney General, on the brief, for Amicus Curiae State of Minnesota.

David L. Hashmall, Minneapolis, Minnesota, on the brief, for Amicus Curiae Ogden Products, Inc.

Before WOLLMAN and BEAM, Circuit Judges, and LAUGHREY, 1 District Judge.

BEAM, Circuit Judge.

This case involves the authority of a local government to regulate the flow and disposal of solid waste. Hennepin County, Minnesota, enacted a "flow control" regulation ("Ordinance 12") that required most County waste to be delivered to County-designated transfer stations or processing facilities. The County later suspended enforcement of Ordinance 12 with respect to waste destined for disposal outside of Minnesota, but continued to require all waste remaining in the state to go to the designated facilities. Local and out-of-state waste haulers, landfills, and residential and commercial waste generators brought suit, alleging that Ordinance 12 violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution.

After finding that both sets of plaintiffs have standing, the district court concluded that Ordinance 12, both as written and as currently enforced, discriminates against interstate commerce and permanently enjoined its enforcement. We hold that the "waste generator" plaintiffs--that is, customers of waste haulers--do not have standing. With respect to the merits, we agree that those provisions of Ordinance 12 that prevent the delivery of County waste to out-of-state processors are unconstitutional. We conclude, however, that as applied solely to intrastate waste disposal, Ordinance 12 does not discriminate against interstate commerce, and reverse and remand that portion of the district court decision.

I. BACKGROUND

Over the past twenty years or so, state and local governments have frequently faced the problem of how, within permissible constitutional boundaries, to regulate the flow and disposal of solid waste. As the Supreme Court recently noted, "[a]s solid waste output continues apace and landfill capacity becomes more costly and scarce, state and local governments are expending significant resources to develop trash control systems that are efficient, lawful, and protective of the environment." C & A Carbone, Inc. v. Town of Clarkstown, 511 U.S. 383, 385-86, 114 S.Ct. 1677, 1680, 128 L.Ed.2d 399 (1994). 2

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One of Minnesota's efforts in this regard is the Minnesota Waste Management Act of 1980. The Act was intended to protect the state's environment and the public health by reducing the amount of waste generated and disposed of, improving energy recovery from waste, coordinating waste management among political subdivisions, and developing waste facilities. Minn.Stat. § 115A.02(a). The Act sought to create an "integrated waste management system" in Minnesota, with a hierarchy of preferences for various waste management practices. In order of preference, the Act addresses waste reduction and reuse, recycling, composting, resource recovery, and land disposal. Id. at § 115A.02(b).

To meet these goals, the Act requires counties to implement plans for local waste management. Id. at § 115A.46. In adopting these plans, counties must consult with persons providing waste collection, processing, and disposal services, and must submit proposed plans to the state's Office of Environmental Assistance for approval. Id. at § 115A.46, Subd. 1(d) & (e). The Act also allows counties to develop designation plans which require all or part of county waste to be delivered to one or more county-designated transfer or disposal facilities. Id. at §§ 115A.80--115A.85. Certain counties must seek approval for waste management plans and designation plans from the Metropolitan Council, a planning and development agency created by the state legislature for the seven-county Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan area. Id. at § 473.803, Subd. 1.

In accordance with the Act, Hennepin County (which includes Minneapolis) created a waste management master plan in 1981. In April 1985, the County obtained approval from the Metropolitan Council for a designation plan to supplement its master plan. The County determined that in order to reduce the amount of County waste disposed of in landfills, it would concentrate the disposal of County waste in "waste-to-energy" processing facilities. Central to this goal was the construction of a state-of-the-art incinerator in Minneapolis that would convert certain solid waste into electricity. In order to finance the construction of the facility, the County issued approximately $150,000,000 in bonds. The resulting facility, the Hennepin Energy Resource Corp. ("HERC"), while constructed with public funds, is owned and operated by two out-of-state corporations.

In order to implement its designation plan, the County adopted Ordinance 12 in December of 1985. The Ordinance, which took effect June 1, 1989, was intended in part to provide "assurance that sufficient quantities of designated waste will be delivered to the [HERC] Facility." 3 Hennepin County Board Resolution No. 85-12-0823-R1, reprinted in Appellant's App. at 23. To provide this assurance, the Ordinance requires that all "designated waste," which includes most forms of non-hazardous commercial and residential solid waste, be delivered only to County-designated transfer stations or processing facilities. The Ordinance itself originally designated certain interim transfer stations and one processing facility: the HERC incinerator. Currently, HERC and one other privately owned waste-to-energy facility located outside Minneapolis are the only designated processing facilities. There are currently eight designated transfer stations, which receive the bulk of the solid waste that supplies the HERC facility.

The Ordinance provides that the County can designate additional facilities. The Ordinance also exempts from the designation requirement any waste processed at facilities already in existence at the time the Metropolitan Council approved the designation plan in 1985. As required by the Waste Management Act, Minn.Stat. § 115A.893, the Ordinance provides that non-designated facilities may petition the County for exclusion of some waste from designation. The County maintains that it has granted several such

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exclusions, including one to plaintiff Knutson Services, Inc. Haulers who deliver designated waste to non-designated facilities are subject to penalties, including misdemeanor charges, fines, costs and special assessments, injunction, and the suspension or revocation of their hauling license. The County has actively monitored haulers and has imposed penalties on companies found to have violated the Ordinance.

In 1993, the County Board passed a resolution to cease enforcement efforts against haulers who delivered designated waste to facilities outside the state. Pursuant to this resolution, the County notified waste haulers that it had "suspended, until further notice, enforcement actions relating to Hennepin County generated waste destined for disposal outside the State of Minnesota." Appellant's App. at 156 (emphasis in original). The County acknowledges, however, that it has continued to enforce the Ordinance with respect to waste delivered to non-designated facilities within Minnesota.

In 1994, the Oehrleins plaintiffs filed suit in the district court. Plaintiffs in the Oehrleins case are eight Minnesota waste haulers, one Minnesota landfill, and one Iowa landfill. The Robinson Rubber plaintiffs, who filed suit in 1995, are a certified class of residential and commercial "waste generators" in Hennepin County who paid for waste removal between June 1, 1989, and the present. Both the Robinson Rubber and Oehrleins plaintiffs alleged that Ordinance 12 violates the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. They requested an injunction against enforcement of the Ordinance and damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. 4

The district court concluded that Ordinance 12, both as written and as enforced after the 1993 "suspension," discriminates against interstate commerce, and so violates the Commerce Clause. The district court granted summary judgment to both sets of plaintiffs. Ben Oehrleins and Sons and...

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