Dumping on Kern County could end with Supreme Court refusal

Dumping on Kern County could end with Supreme Court refusal
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- The dumping of human waste on Kern County land may stop after action, or rather inaction, by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The high court refused to hear an appeal by Los Angeles and affiliated waste recyclers who want to continue to ship the sewage to Kern County farmland.

In 2006, Kern voters approved Measure E, which bans the practice of trucking in sewage sludge that is spread on fields above the groundwater table. Legal claims by the city of Los Angeles have delayed implementation of the ordinance.

Senate Majority Leader Dean Florez, D-Shafter, applauded the Supreme Court for its move Tuesday.

"At some point, someone decided the health of our community was less important than the money that could be made becoming an urban dump," Florez said in a news release. "The voters made it clear they disagree, and I hope the county will continue to pursue every avenue on their behalf to ensure that collective voice is heard and this toxic practice is stopped once and for all."

The case now returns to U.S. District Judge Gary Feess in Los Angeles, who in 2006 set aside Kern's ban.

In 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed and vacated Feess' decision and determined that Los Angeles and other plaintiffs lacked standing to claim that Kern's sludge ban unduly restricted interstate commerce.