Beveridge & Diamond
 

Beveridge & Diamond Scores Appellate Victories in California and Texas for Waste and Recycling Clients, Protecting Major Landfills

June 6, 2014

Beveridge & Diamond’s appellate litigators recently secured important published decisions protecting clients’ landfills and establishing precedent favorable to the solid waste and recycling industry. 

In California, litigators from the firm’s California and Washington, DC offices convinced the California Court of Appeal to reverse a trial court ruling that had vacated an expansion permit for firm client Waste Connections’ Potrero Hills Landfill in Solano County, California.  The unanimous decision in SPRAWLDEF v. San Francisco Bay Conservation and Dev. Comm’n, 2014 Cal. App. LEXIS 469, provides helpful new precedent on the requirements for analyzing the economic infeasibility for project alternatives under the Suisun Marsh Preservation Act and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). 

The SPRAWLDEF  decision rejected arguments from environmental groups that the permitting authority, the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC), had inadequate evidence to determine that alternatives to the expansion of the landfill were economically infeasible.  It allows Potrero Hills Landfill to add 260 acres to the landfill's existing 320-acre property, extending its lifetime by 35 years. The Court also ruled that “the Commission’s finding of no substantial [environmental] adverse impacts, as mitigated and modified after input from scientists and the community, is supported by substantial evidence.” Firm Principals Lily Chinn and James Slaughter represented Waste Connections and Ms. Chinn argued the appeal.

The decision is the subject of articles in Westlaw Journal EnvironmentalBNA Daily Environment Report[1], Waste 360, Law360, and Inside Cal/EPA (all of which quote Firm Principal Jimmy Slaughter), as well as E&E Greenwire

In Texas, the Seventh Court of Appeals ruled in favor of our client Waste Management of Texas, Inc., in Travis Cnty., v. Texas Comm’n on Envtl. Quality and Waste Mgmt. of Texas, Inc., 2014 Tex. App. LEXIS 4624, upholding a permit amendment authorizing the expansion of the Austin Community Recycling and Disposal Facility.  The permit amendment extends the active life of the client’s landfill and provides much needed disposal capacity for the rapidly growing Central Texas area served by the facility. 

While the entirety of the permit was subject to administrative and judicial review, and found compliant, at the crux of the case were two inactive disposal areas within the landfill footprint.  In a case of first impression, the Seventh Court of Appeals held that the evidence put forth by Waste Management sufficiently demonstrated that these inactive areas stopped receiving waste before the October 9, 1991, cutoff date for RCRA Subtitle D regulation.  Based on the evidence put forth by Waste Management, the court also upheld the other findings of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – that the permit amendment application complied with all applicable statutory and regulatory requirements.  Bryan Moore in Beveridge & Diamond’s Austin office argued the appeal.

For more information on these successes, contact Jimmy Slaughter (jslaughter@bdlaw.com), Lily Chinn (lchinn@bdlaw.com), or Bryan Moore (bmoore@bdlaw.com).

Beveridge & Diamond represents virtually all aspects of the solid waste industry, including private and public owners and operators of landfills, transfer stations, recycling facilities, sludge management facilities and municipal waste combustors, as well as national solid waste trade associations. We assist with the development, siting, public bidding, construction, operation and closure/post closure management of solid waste facilities throughout the country. Our litigators represent solid waste facilities in all trial and appellate matters, including permit challenges, constitutional issues, and nuisance/toxic tort defense.


[1] Reproduced with permission from Daily Environment Report, 84 DEN A-17 (May 1, 2014). Copyright 2014 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com 

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