City's Response to Flow Control Lawsuit: It's Our Landfill, And We'll Do What We Want

RWalters_150.jpg
Via.
Rob Walters, co-author of this holiday season's must-read legal briefing about garbage
On the first day of Hanukkah (that is to say, Tuesday) my city gave to me its response to the federally filed lawsuit in which the National Solid Wastes Management Association insists the city's new ordinance driving all trash to the McCommas Bluff Landfill is "extraordinarily anti-free-enterprise." Catchy, no? And, sure, nothing says, "Happy Christmas!" like another flow control item -- but the city, which is to say you, be paying Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher a lot of money ($175,000, for starters, and we're still three weeks away from the first hearing) for this lengthy riposte, so you might as well enjoy the read.

As always, the docs follow -- in this case, a 33-page now-look-here that opens with a swift kick to the dumpster (opening lines: "Contrary to Plaintiffs' contentions, there is no constitutional right to operate a landfill. This lawsuit is Plaintiffs' attempt to accomplish through litigation what they failed to accomplish through the political process"), tumps a trashcan over the waste-haulers' collective heads ("Plaintiffs nevertheless insist that this was nothing more than the City acting in a proprietary capacity to advance its own economic self-interest") and proceeds to bang on that wastebasket with a rolled-up copy of a previous Supreme Court ruling involving this very issue ("Plaintiffs' views are also ultimately incompatible with the Supreme Court's own assessment of flow control in United Haulers, a case they never once cite").

An excerpt, and we're not even out of the introduction yet:
The stakes here are high: Plaintiffs are asking the Court to presume that the City assigned away its sovereign power to decide the location of waste disposal in the City for the twenty-year duration of the agreement, and to conclude that the Constitution precludes the City from enacting ordinary social and economic legislation. There is nothing, however, in the contract or the Constitution that supports Plaintiffs' request. This is precisely the kind of issue properly left to the political process, and the federal judiciary has no obvious role in declaring the proper wastemanagement policies of a state municipality. Plaintiffs are profoundly wrong to insist that the federal judiciary inject itself in the middle of this local policy issue.
From there it's on to "The History And Future Of The City's Waste Management," a chapter clearly lifted from my dream journal. When I first mentioned Gibson Dunn's involvement a few weeks ago, several Friends of Unfair Park promised first-rate prose. At the risk of logrolling in our time: This filing isn't a waste of your time. City's Reponse to Flow Control LawsuitAppendix to City Respond Solid Waste
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Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Abagail you can bluster all day it still isn't going to change the way things will be when the project gets going only to find the ample supply of Garbage chokes the life out of this endeavor. The Entrepreneurs have already staked there claim to the trash worth cash and process tons of it every day.There is no Facility in place to process the item collected.. that would be Garbage . It will become part of the land fill.

At the end of the day it is a money Grab by the City .

Just say they want the money and be done with it .

Please educate your self.

  

RTGolden
RTGolden

I'm sure Abby lives right in the neighborhood of McCommas, right?  And she's fine with the increased truck traffic thru her quaint little Pleasant Grove or South Dallas address.

By the way, weren't a large number of the original 'Superfund' hazardous waste cleanup sites.... Recycling Centers?

Abby should have kept it on the down-low that you're "in" the waste management industry.  Kind of casts a pall over your credibility (I know you think it lends you some sort of insider authority, but most people will see it as you have something to gain).  Also, it wouldn't hurt to post some credible links to back up your claims.  All you've really done is blather on ecstatically, like some born-again "Christ of the Compost" believer.

Abby
Abby

Gosh RT?  Do you know where McCommas is?  Exit the interstate and drive down Simpson Stuart, the way the trucks go, and tell me what you see.  Nothing but some run down, real estate that could use some help.  The extra truck traffic will bother no one.  It's a small price to pay for investment from a resource recovery facility.  What's been brought to the south recently, a scap yard?  Great, how wonderfully environmental!  BTW, you can question my credibility all day.  The words speak for themselves.Thanks!

RTGolden
RTGolden

No Abby your words don't speak for themselves.  Go sit at McCommas from 10am -2pm and you'll notice that garbage trucks come from every direction.  I'm sure the people who live in that 'run down real estate' in that part of town are beneath your notice, but they should have a say in what is going on down there as much as you and your North Dallas cronies have.Nobody is saying flow control is not the way to go.  What we're saying here is that this has been business as usual for Dallas government; rush into something without doing all the research, listen to profiteering 'consultants', screw the citizens because, hey, what the hell, we'll all be out of office before this comes crashing down on our heads anyway.You want credibility on here? Post links to credible, third party sites or information sources.  Don't post links to the website of the company that stands to gain from the deal, and don't think THIS audience is going to 'take your word' as fact.  I guarantee you the people who post on this board know a helluva lot more about this issue than you are giving them credit for.

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

If its such a good idea Let the other Haulers use the Dallas Transfer stations.

At a discount .

Abby
Abby

Check the council minutes.  I believe that it's in there already.

Phelps
Phelps

They are probably right about United Haulers being the controlling law.  Essentially it says, "the people who are getting fucked are the ones who elected the clowns doing the fucking.  Give them what they asked for, good and hard."

Dunbar
Dunbar

Excellent prose, thanks for sharing dumbass.

RTGolden
RTGolden

As opposed to your own contribution of facts, research, informed opinion, or anything of any substance to this conversation?

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

While on the subject of local government, what's up with the NTTA indemnifying one of its trustee/directors for his defense lawyer's fees.  This is a blank check deal and could cost as much as this waste disposal controversy.  Come on , Robert.  You or Schutze should be all over this white collar crime in the making.

Robert Wilonsky
Robert Wilonsky

Jim's actually all over this -- has been for several days. Expect something tomorrow, fingers crossed.

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

Thx. I'll search the back issues. Happy Hanukkah.

_____

primi_timpano
primi_timpano

I fear the anti trust side of this coin, because these suits can require conspirators (e.g., the Council) to pay treble damages.  The appendix also mentions a change in schedule, the new dump will be open 24 hrs, which I am sure will gratify the neighborhood.

Oak Cliff Townie makes a good point: who's hauling all of the construction company refuge and what do they do with it, not to mention grease trap trucks, which according to the appendix is allowed to dump in the land fill, and used oil collectors.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

[ This whole issue is costing the NSWMA's clients big dollars - the public's dollars, which a resource recovery facility will recoup, maximize, and return to the city.  There is one keyed up for the city to demonstrate, at no cost to the city or the public.]

But aren't the NSWMA's clients located in the city?  Aren't they the public?  If the cost to waste haulers rises, don't they just pass on the added expense to their clients--- since ALL waste haulers serving these same clients will face the same increased expense?  And aren't their clients local businesses and apartment complexes, who, in turn, will pass along their higher costs to tenants in the form of higher rent?

[ The big waste companies will lose a fortune when a successful resource recovery facility is in operation, and they will fight to keep it from becoming a reality.]

So, Mary Nix, the City's Sanitation Director is going to be able to out-compete Waste Management and other leading companies on the cutting edge of waste management technology?  Doesn't the Roseville, California plant she wants to emulate charge fees that are over 3 times those currently charged in Dallas?  Is the plan she wants to use similar to the one that Harrisburg, PA deployed-- the same plan that has dragged that city into insolvency as a result of bloated costs and wildly over-optimistic operating projections?

[There is one keyed up for the city to demonstrate, at no cost to the city or the public.]

That has already been exposed as a falsehood by local media.  Even Mayor Rawlings seemed to dismiss that fairy tale out-of-hand when he approved the monopoly; at least he had the honesty to call it what it is: a $20 million cash grab.

Abby
Abby

Wrong on all counts Wylie!  The NSWMA's clients are the big hauling companies.  Competition will keep the costs from rising because the local guys can now compete with the big boys without the help of a private landfill to cost recover.  The local hauling companies can now quote those apartment complexes with the same rate and offer better service.  That's why they are fighting so hard; this is only the beginning.  And sorry Wylie, but if you consider Dallas spending $10 mil annually to get $3 mil worth of recyclables via a curbside program as "cutting edge" we can only hope you're not in this business, which, by the way, I am. Also, research the PA plan, and you'll see incineration is not what Dallas is looking at.Lastly, if you think Bret Shipp is an informed journalist, your vision is as skewed as your knowledge of the biz, and the PA plant.  Now, pay attention to what can really happen with waste in Dallas.  It's recycling, jobs, manufacturing from resources separated from what was waste, renewable energy, and money for the city of Dallas.  Thanks, Abby     

Yourmoney
Yourmoney

Shipp's story was spot on. Once the city council discovers they were mislead with clip art in PowerPoint presentations that had no relation to reality heads will roll.     

Dunbar
Dunbar

Yea yourmoney, like you have a clue!

Trashtalk
Trashtalk

Flow control was originally promoted as a way to raise revenue from the tipping fees. That is the only money the city will get for years and perhaps forever. Recycling is expensive and after their vacation to Europe city officials realized that the technology they were looking at would cost around $100 a ton to use. How many jobs will be lost in Dallas when companies realize the city has them by the short hairs in terms of how much it will cost to dispose of their waste? They can move just a few miles South and see their tipping fees drop dramatically. Same is true to the North. 500 jobs sorting garbage isn't what the people of South Dallas had in mind. Dallas is once again shooting itself in the foot. 

Abby
Abby

Sorry Trashtalk.  You have no comprehension whatsoever of the issue, how it is framed, or the business at all.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Abby, you're either feverishly stupid or you have something to gain from this deal going through.Longer haul routes are going to equate to higher rates for trash service. Period, end of story.  Yes the local guys may be able to offer the same rates as the big guys; the same HIGHer rates as the big guys. As a former truck driver, I can tell you for a fact, longer routes = higher cost.As for recycling, if it is such a good idea, why do you have pay people to do it?  Is paper recycling 'worth' it?  I hardly think so.  Over 80% of paper made from fresh wood pulp is made from trees grown by Paper companies, in forests they own, for the purpose of making paper. (Which forests, by the way, are ecologically healthier than any forest the government 'protects').  Recycling paper to save trees is like recycling poop to save corn.  Aside from that it costs 30% more to make paper from recycled material and it generates over 10% more toxic sludge than making paper from fresh pulp.

http://www.cato.org/pub_displa...

Trashtalk
Trashtalk

 The extra mileage as well as equipment and labor costs will add up to close to $20 million a year.  Someone is going to have to pick up that tab. Trucks that now leave the city going to the North, East and West will now all be heading South onto some of the most congested roads in the area. If there were really processes available for massive recycling that made economic sense we would already see them implemented at other area landfills.  

RTGolden
RTGolden

As for recycling, the costs I was citing were the actual production cost differences.  It costs the same to transport recycled paper as it does to transport virgin pulp paper.  The PROCESS of recycling paper adds the additional 30% in cost and 10% in generated toxic sludge, not the transport.Your economics don't stand the test of common sense.  A smaller company, with a smaller, more concentrated revenue stream will be hurt exponentially more by slight increases in cost than a large corporation with a larger pool of revenue.  It's a question of simple percentages;  a 10% increase in miles will affect a local company with X amount of total miles greater than it will affect a nationwide company with (X)*192 (assuming 4 metro accounts in the lower 48 states) miles.  The whole idea behind huge transportation companies is compounded profit and diffuse loss, as envisioned by J.B. Hunt.I may be 'getting there' but I'm on the Road to Reality.  You seem to be on the Way to Wishful Thinking.

Trashtalk
Trashtalk

But you are not there yet. Once city officials find out how much a single stream recycling facility will cost to use they will realize that it will not pay for itself in this economic environment. If they raise tipping fees to California or European levels businesses will continue to expand outside of the city where costs are lower. Any valuable recyclables will be separated and sold by the people who produce them. The city has not even conducted an audit of the landfill to see what material it is receiving now. As this issue unfolds the city council will be sorry they ever voted for flow control and some of the people who championed this "green" initiative will be thrown under the bus.   

Abby
Abby

OK RT, here goes...Check the city's numbers for the actual mileage.  The increase is minimal, and will shake out with a couple of extra customers gained from the big guys who are going to lose cause their dumping fees are now the same as the little guys and their service sucks.  I'm a customer so I know.  As for recycling, where do you think all the recycled paper in the US goes?  China?  They reprocess it and sell it back to us!  The reason it's more expensive is the transport.  Heck, they do it in San Antonio, let's just send it there!  Also, separate the other recyclables e.g. the hdpe and pete and film plastics, metals, both ferrous and non and food and green waste.  McCommas is piped for organics to methane which can be easily done in large tanks, and sell the rest as commodities.  It's really simple and can now be done mechanically, with few people, and fast.  You're getting there!Thanks

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

[Competition will keep the costs from rising because the local guys can now compete with the big boys without the help of a private landfill to cost recover.]

I don't understand.   The "local guys" (along with the "big boys") are both currently using cheaper landfills in closer proximity to service their clients in North Dallas.  How will forcing both local guys and big boys to drive further to a more costly landfill be good for competition?  Everyone's costs will be going up, and since customers exhibit little elasticity of demand for trash hauling services, they will bear the brunt of the increased costs via increased charges.  This is all pretty straightforward, as one would learn in a college microeconomics class.

[The local hauling companies can now quote those apartment complexes with the same rate and offer better service. ]

How can the local hauling companies offer the same rate and offer better service when they will be forced to travel to a more distant, more costly landfill.  These longer distances will necessitate a need for more trucks, since each truck will be able to serve fewer customers because each trip to the dump will take longer.  These smaller companies have a more difficult time accessing capital to purchase more trucks, so competition will actually be reduced, not increased.

[...if you consider Dallas spending $10 mil annually to get $3 mil worth of recyclables via a curbside program as "cutting edge" we can only hope you're not in this business, which, by the way, I am]

I don't know what you're talking about here, but would be pleased to consider and all hard data.  And, yes, I figured you had some sort of agenda.  Are you the guy who's been squiring the Sanitation Director and/or city staff all around California, Europe, etc. on these "field trips?"

[if you think Bret (sic) Shipp is an informed journalist, your vision is as skewed as your knowledge of the biz, and the PA plant.]

Brett Shipp is actually one of the best investigative journalists in Dallas.  And my knowledge of the PA plant and the industry only comes from reading dozens of stories in the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, the Financial Times, the Washington Post and the New York Times, but you could be right, mainstream media may all have a skewed vision.  What authoritative sources could you direct me to that would lend credence to the plans that have been outlined by Mary Nix, the Sanitation Director?

Insidecityhall
Insidecityhall

The council only knew what the city manager told them. The media has already pointed out that significant information was false. In other cases key pieces of information were simply never mentioned. Once the council sees that they were mislead there will be you know what to pay.   

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

Abby who are you ?Where are you back from ?And what do you know about garbage/trash  ?Not rude just asking .Most of us have been Doing the what is now called going Green LONG BEFORE IT WAS  thing to do because of the money WE save.

BTW Answer the question ..If its going to Generate  "ALL this Cash" Why  not let the Haulers dump at the transfer Stations ?At a discount ?

Abby
Abby

It's obvious who you are Wylie!  As they have been from day 1, your logic is skewed, your information is false, and you speak only in lies!  The council saw through it, and now the public will see through it.  Did they cancel your contract after you lost the vote?  They should have!  You and your buddy KC did a lousy job and they're going to have to spend a bunch of money now, and you still can't win.  Watch and see!And sorry, I'm not the guy.

Abby's Back!
Abby's Back!

No need to raise any fees anywhere, including having your trash hauled away.  This whole issue is costing the NSWMA's clients big dollars - the public's dollars, which a resource recovery facility will recoup, maximize, and return to the city.  There is one keyed up for the city to demonstrate, at no cost to the city or the public.  When you change a paradigm for the better, someone, especially the one losing money is going to cry, and that's all this is.  The big waste companies will lose a fortune when a successful resource recovery facility is in operation, and they will fight to keep it from becoming a reality.  The city knows this and is going to fight to get that money - your money, for its own use.

Proveit
Proveit

Please provide a location and description of a facility of this type currently functioning in the U.S. and generating income for a city with tipping fees of  $21.50 or less.

Homeontherange
Homeontherange

Sorry but I don't see how the trash a company generates belongs to the City of Dallas. As long as it is disposed of safetly in a landfill regulated by the State of Texas the city has no business being involved in the process. Recylables are a commodity with prices that rise and fall on demand. Does Dallas really need to be in such a risky business? So far no one has come up with a plan for recycling that can come anywhere near handling the trash that already comes to the landfill and no one has proven flow control is necessary to create some type of recycling facility at the landfill. Had Dallas planned better it would have already built a MRF at McCommas instead of sending its residential recycling to Garland.   

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

The city needs the DUMP FEES for budget short falls .Most Job sites have a green dumpster set up .Few things actually make it into the Land fill.

As a business guy we recoup money from our Trash already .Scrap metal is sold or hauled off for free.Cardboard is hauled away at almost no change.Or Hauled off for freeWhite Document paper is shredded  is secured and has to be hauled off by a company that shreds it Pallets .Good pallets are hauled off by scavengers .

If there is a Market Value someone is willing to haul it away. Sometimes for free.

By Recycling and letting folks haul things off we have gone from once a week to once every two weeks for the Dumpster folks That is saving a lot of money over the year.Are we going to have to use the city to do all of our recycling now ?

I have been to the DUMP it produces Methane .

We recycle at home .And I have to wonder Is the city ready to handle and recycle all the industrial Items that are about to head its way ?

Where are those Facilities ?

Purpleone
Purpleone

Go to that company's website OC and see how they do it.organicenergycorp.comLooks like somethin we should do.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Right, "misquoted by omission" means they left something out.  If you follow the context, Pres. Sorrell has most definitely NOT lent his support and blessing to flow control.  Nobody at Paul Quinn has.

Abby
Abby

No it doesn't RT.  It's exactly what the Pres. said in the letter.  What it does not say is that he would like it studied first, that's all. 

Abby
Abby

Google a company called AdBongo in Dallas.  That's the guy who is doing the Wall-E thing and he has no clue what he's talking about.  That zero waste bozo from the west coast is a consultant with backward ideas and he's getting paid to spew them here.  What a maroon.  Today another 6,000 tons of garbage went into McCommas.  That's enough to bury these zero waste buffoons trying to figure out how to separate the green waste from the plastics.

RTGolden
RTGolden

This link erroneously misquotes by omission the remarks of Pres. Sorrell of Paul Quinn College.  It posts the bullets in his presentation to Council that seem supportive of Flow Control but leaves out the rest. If you click the "learn more" on the page it takes you to Sorrell's actual letter, where he is asking the Council for restraint, to analyze the issue before rushing into a decision.Context, as seen here:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

and here:

http://blogs.dallasobserver.co...

tells another story entirely.

RTGolden
RTGolden

Are you in Nix's office?  Nobody but nobody knows what Wall-E is unless they're in deep in the city.  We've all been waiting for months for Robert to get something definitive on 'Wall-E', and now, you claim to know exactly what it is?

Abby
Abby

Not Wall-E!  That's a bunch of tree huggers who think they can take the 6,000 tons per day of garbage currently going into McCommas and turn it into something like art or other usefule stuff.  They don't know how to separate it, other than by hand I guess, so it may back up pretty quickly.  That's going to add some zeroes to their concept of zero waste, but hey, everyone thinks they know about the waste industry.  It's just garbage right?  Ask Wylie, he knows it all!  The PA facility is something other than an incinerator and Brett Shipp is a great journalist!  Yea, right.

Imagepimp
Imagepimp

Are these guys actually setting up shop here at the dump (they have an office on Cedar Springs), and would this be "Wall-E?" I noticed a couple of familiar names on the endorsement page, and seem to remember reading about these a while back, but there are concentrated hop and malt residues blocking that group of synapses:

http://organicenergycorp.com/e...

If this were to actually happen, Flow Control may make be a little more feasible. This has likely already been covered here and I managed to miss it, but inquiring minds would like to know.

Southernsector
Southernsector

There is no big resource recovery project in the works - Channel 8 has already clearly demonstrated that is a myth. Once people understand the high cost of most resource recovery operations, such as the one in California that charges $68 a ton to anyone who dumps there they will realize that this is all pie in the sky. All the city ever wanted was the tipping fees. This lets them continue to run one of the the most expensive landfills in the area with no competition to keep prices down or provide better service. Local businesses will pick up the tab starting at $19 million and climbing each year. Meanwhile, city officials are already planning more trips to Europe where disposal costs are even higher. Hang on to your wallets.   

Oak Cliff Townie
Oak Cliff Townie

How about just assessing a DUMPSTER PERMIT FEE . If we already have one Why not just raise the fee ?

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