The Final Act for Kern County's Biosolids Ban?

“The time has come to issue a permanent injunction against Kern County Measure E, a discriminatory local voter initiative that bans a critical recycling practice, land application of biosolids.  The Court of Appeal resolved the merits of this action in February 2013 when it affirmed this Court’s rulings that Measure E was likely preempted and exceeded the County’s police powers.  Five federal and state trial and appellate judges agree that Measure E is illegal and the Plaintiffs ask that this Court apply its prior analysis – ratified by the Court of Appeal – to issue a permanent injunction.”

Thus begins a brief submitted September 26th to the Superior Court, County of Tulare, California.  The Plaintiffs – the City of Los Angeles, Responsible Biosolids Management Inc., and others – are asking the Court to permanently end any possible enforcement of the Kern County ban on importation and land application of biosolids (“Measure E”).  The court battles over Measure E have been going on since shortly after Measure E passed on June 6, 2006.  To date, Measure E has not been enforced, because of a preliminary injunction obtained by the Plaintiffs.  

This past summer, the State Supreme Court ruled on this case that the Plaintiffs (City of Los Angeles and others) had not filed their original state court action in a timely fashion, and they threw out the case, giving Kern County its first victory.  However, the Supreme Court did not address any substantive issues.  This means that the arguments put forth by the Tulare County Superior Court and the Appeal Court have not been superseded by the State Supreme Court.  This month’s new action, seeking a permanent injunction against Measure E, is, therefore, likely to be supported by these same courts.   

A hearing on the latest court action in Tulare County Superior Court is scheduled for January 15, 2015.  The Plaintiffs and other biosolids management professionals hope that this will be the last step in defeating the Kern County ban.  

See the full brief – including a summary of 15 years of conflict and court battles over biosolids land application in Kern County.