Kern County Sued Again over Sludge by the city of Los Angeles

Kern County Sued Again over Sludge by the city of Los Angeles

03/5/2011

Attorneys representing the city of Los Angeles, an Orange County sanitation district, as well as their industry allies, again filed a lawsuit against Kern County’s Measure E. The lawsuit, which seeks to overturn Kern County’s ban on the land use of treated industrial and human waste, was filed in Kern County Superior Court.

The superior court lawsuit is a follow-up to an unsuccessful legal attack on Measure E in federal court. It claims that the law enacted by Kern County voters in 2006 violated provisions of the California Integrated Waste Management Act.

The lawsuit also charges that Measure E violated the California Constitution by restricting trade inside the state and by enacting the law, Kern County went beyond the limits of its governmental police powers, said Mark Nations, the Kern Chief Deputy County Counsel.

Nations said the lawsuit revived a federal law issue that was already thrown out by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

The argument that Measure E violated the commerce clause of the US Constitution was scoffed at by the federal appeals court justices.

Nations opined that Los Angeles is reviving the charges in state court purely for economic reasons, and that is, it wanted Kern County to pay the city’s lawyers.

He said, “They are into this for millions of dollars.” Nations also said, “That is the only theory in there that would entitle them to attorney fees.”

The director of communications for the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, John Franklin, said that the city will not comment on the case or provide a response to the statements of Nations at this time. Franklin said, “We just filed the paperwork.”

WRITTEN BY:

blakeh@wellsdrew.com