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Sierra Club V. Morton Case Brief

In: Other Topics

Submitted By linalva08
Words 416
Pages 2
Supreme Court of the United States, 1972.
405 U.S. 727, 92 S. Ct. 1361, 31 L.Ed.2d 636.

Facts of the Case • Plaintiff sues Town of Clarkstown, N.Y. for flow control ordinance requiring all nonhazardous material to be deposited in local transfer station; thus infringing on the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

• The Commerce Clause is a grant of power to Congress that invalidates local laws that impose commercial barriers or discriminates against an article of commerce by reason of its origin or destination out of State.

• The Defendant, Town of Clarkstown, N.Y., closed down its landfill and built a transfer station in order to comply with environmental regulations. A local private contractor was hired to build said transfer station, operate it for 5 years, after which the town would buy it for $1. The size of the facility was based on the amount of trash taken to the transfer station each year. The hauler of each waste was required to pay an $81 “tipping fee” for each ton of waste taken to the transfer station; this was done in order to repay the cost of the transfer station to the contractor. In order to ensure that the guaranteed yearly amount of trash was taken to the transfer station the town adopted the flow control ordinance, Local Law 1990, No. 9, which required all nonhazardous solid waste within the town to be deposited at the new transfer station. Local Law 9 also prohibited individual haulers from taking their trash to other transfer stations or landfill facilities because that would evade them from paying the $81 tipping fee. The Petitioner failed to bring his trash to the town’s transfer station and took it directly to out-of-state incinerators and landfills, thus bypassing the $81 tipping fee and costing the town loss of revenue. The Petitioner’s complaint is that the ordinance discriminates because it favors the current operator to process waste and squelches competition in the waste-processing service by not allowing haulers to legally take their waste out-of-state, therefore leaving no room for investment from outside.

Issues • Whether the flow control ordinance violates the Commerce Clause?

Decisions • Yes

Reasoning • Court holds that the flow control ordinance violates the Commerce Clause.

• The ordinance deprives competitors, including out-of-state first, of access to a local market.

• The ordinance requires all solid waste to be processed at the designated transfer station before leaving the town.…...

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