Saw this one coming; so too did the city council. After all, in mid-September the council met behind closed doors with city attorneys to review "legal issues regarding proposed resource flow control ordinance" -- which, as I am sure you recall, is the ordinance directing all solid waste collected in the city limits to city-owned facilities, chief among them the McCommas Bluff Landfill in far southeastern Dallas. Mayor Mike Rawlings was straight-up about the deal before the council voted to approve it September 29. It wasn't about recycling or "trash to treasure" or any of that other stuff that "obfuscated" the issue. Said the mayor: "This is a business revenue issue. Who deserves that revenue? Should it be the owners of the landfills outside the city of Dallas or the taxpayers?" A majority of council members said: Why, us!
But Rawlings knew then -- and he certainly knows now -- that the National Solid Wastes Management Association hated the deal, for myriad reasons recounted here in recent months. And now it's come to this: a federal antitrust lawsuit just filed against the city of Dallas.
As always, the whole suit follows. Read it all. But long story short, says the suit:
The ordinance is not even arguably aimed at protecting public health, safety, or welfare related to uncollected or improperly disposed of solid wastes. Nor will it result in more solid waste being converted to renewable materials or green energy, and it thwarts the efforts of recyclers by requiring the landfilling of recyclable materials. Its sole and avowed purpose is to generate revenue for the City by imposing new fees on Generators and the Franchisees and taking fees from Owners/Operators (when commercial waste and recyclable materials are disposed of or processed at Owners/Operators' facilities) and diverting those fees to the City to address revenue shortfalls from other sources.
The suit also refers to the ordinance as "an extraordinarily anti-free-enterprise action by the City." Messages have been left all over Dallas City Hall to see if there's any response.
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Update at 4:49 p.m.: Frank Librio, spokesman for City Hall, sends by way of response a brief statement that reads, in full, "The City carefully studied court cases involving resource flow control laws before enacting its ordinance. The City believes its ordinance is valid and will defend it vigorously."