A Superior Court judge upheld the legislature's 2007 restrictions on landfills, rejecting the argument from a large waste company that the law was aimed specifically at its planned Camden Countymega dump.
Waste Industries sued after lawmakers overhauled landfill laws over worries that large regional dumps could turn North Carolina into one of the nation's biggest trash receptacles.
In the mid-2000s, five giant landfills had been proposed for rural eastern and Piedmont counties. The largest was Waste Industries' proposed Black Bear Solid Waste Facility in Camden, a county in the state's northeast corner.
When the law passed, Waste Industries was working to get state permits for the landfill near the Dismal Swamp National Refuge that could eventually take more than 3 million tons of trash a year. In a few decades, the garbage pile could have grown to about 270 feet.
The state's 2007 law barred new landfills within five miles of a national wildlife refuge, within two miles of a state park, or within one mile of state game land. The law also increased the distance new landfills must be from streams, and imposed a $2-per-ton solid waste disposal tax, putting the revenue toward hazardous waste cleanup and local trash programs.
Waste Industries argued that the law was unconstitutional, arbitrary and capricious. But Superior Court Judge Henry W. Hight Jr., considering the company's challenge in Wake County, said the law did not discriminate and the legislature acted within its power. Hight's decision was filed Monday.
Senate leader Marc Basnight said the law doesn't single out companies, or stop them from bringing in out-of-state trash.
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