Division II: County Argument Against Biosolid Preemption Pooh-Poohed
Back in eighth grade, we had to take a class called Pacific Northwest History. Mine was taught by a wonderful gentleman whose name escapes me, but who I remember we put through a lot of grief. That class, to this day, remains the one class in which I ever got into a fight.
As part of this class, we were tested on memorization of each and every Washington County. I’m sure I failed with Wahkiakum County.
So what is this case about anyway? As it turns out the state has what is called a biosolids program. It’s done to encourage recycling, rather than disposal, of sewage waste. The County passed an ordinance banning the most common biosolids. The state sued the county for enacting an ordinance in conflict with the general laws.
I won’t get into the specifics of the law, but suffice it to say that the state specifically treats those biosolids as a beneficial commodity in agriculture. The county ordinance, rather than enhance use of biosolids, specifically banned one class of biosolids. Essentially, the county ordinance banned what state law permitted.
The County’s arguments to the contrary are unpersuasive. First, the County argues that it has not prohibited all land application of biosolids, but rather it has simply imposed further, more stringent regulations, pursuant to its own police power. However, although all the County’s regulation allows for land application of class A biosolids, the County does not address the fact that the ordinance prohibits any land application of class B biosolids even though the state scheme explicitly sets criteria for permitting land application of class B biosolids. Even if the County had authority to more strictly regulate land application of biosolids, it does not have the authority to entirely prohibit the land application of class Beat biosolids one such application is allowed under a comprehensive regulatory scheme that is been enacted in accordance with legislative directive.
And because this opinion deals with biosolids, I will simply say that the County’s argument has been pooh-poohed.