Green Building Law Update came across an interesting lawsuit in Texas challenging a green cement regulation. First, here’s a little background on green cement regulations:
Green cement resolutions put pressure on wet kiln operators to either update their smog-causing pollution controls to the level of dry kilns, or replace their wet kilns with new dry ones. They do this by incorporating state emissions standards as specs in bids for cement purchasing. These specs favor more aggressive pollution controls.
The cities of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Arlington and Plano had apparently adopted similar green cement resolutions. In November 2008, Ash Grove Cement filed a suit challenging these resolutions:
Late in the afternoon on the day before Thanksgiving, lawyers for Kansas City-based Ash Grove Cement filed suit in federal court against the cities of Dallas, Ft. Worth, Arlington, Plano, The Dallas County School District and Tarrant County for adopting “green cement” resolutions that favor modern, less polluting dry kilns over older, dirtier wet kilns – like the three the company operates at its 43-year-old Midlothian plant, south of Dallas.
According to a Kansas City Star article, Ash Grove Cement alleges that the green cement resolutions violate Texas law because municipal bodies are required to evaluate only the competence of the bidder and the quality and price products or services. The suit also contends that the resolutions violate Ash Grove Cement’s constitutional rights.
“This is not a case about air quality; rather, it is about whether the defendants, however well intentioned but misguided their goals might be, may ignore laws they do not wish to follow, may pass resolutions which are unfair, unwise and unlawful, and may take property away from Ash Grove in an arbitrary and capricious manner,” Ash Grove’s complaint states.
As more "green" regulations are passed at the federal, state and municipal level, challenges to these regulations by affected companies will become more common. The outcome of these lawsuits will either kill "green" regulations or force companies to comply. Needless to say, there is a lot at stake and Green Building Law Update will continue to keep you apprised of the outcome.
- Group Condemns Ash Grove Lawsuit Against Texas Green Cement Cities, Predicts Backlash (Dallas Green Zine)
- Ash Grove sues over Texas green cement resolutions (KC Star)
Credit: Thanks to Rich Cartlidge for originally sending me this story.