By Paul Gable
Horry County Council passed second reading of an amendment to its flow control ordinance to eliminate regulation over construction and demolition solid waste debris originating within the county.
The vote was the exact same 6-5 in favor as first reading with the Horry County Solid Waste Authority apologists on council voting in the negative.
The discussion over this issue has concentrated on how much revenue the HCSWA will lose of the amendment passes. This is totally an unconstitutional argument according to the Supreme Court decision in the United Haulers Ass’n v. Oneida Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority lawsuit.
Flow control laws are only constitutional if the public benefits outweigh considerations of the Commerce Clause of the Constitution in a Pike balancing test. Revenue generation may be a considered factor on the public benefit side, but it may not be the only consideration as it appears to be in this issue.
Of the $927,500 the HCSWA assumes it will lose from removing C&D from flow control regulations, most is offset by reduced expenses at the authority associated with handling and burying the C&D waste.
The $2.25 per ton the HCSWA pays to the county for the 911 system, which is among the cuts the authority proposes to make, came from what the authority’s own consultant called overcharges, way back in 2003, on HCSWA tipping fees.
The bottom line is the HCSWA will not suffer, even economically, from removing C&D from flow control regulations. That is why a majority of council voted to return C&D decisions to the free market.