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Ringlieb v. Township of Parsippany-Troy Hills

Decided: October 26, 1971.


For affirmance -- Chief Justice Weintraub and Justices Jacobs, Francis, Proctor, Hall, Schettino and Mountain. For reversal -- None.

Per Curiam

The judgment is affirmed for the reasons expressed by Judge Joseph H. Stamler in his oral opinion which reads as follows:

This matter is before the Court on cross motions for summary judgment. On May 6, 1970 the Legislature approved two pieces of legislation concerning solid waste. Chapter 39 of the Laws of 1970 concerned itself with solid waste management and the title of that statute read that it was "An Act Concerning Solid Waste Management creating an Advisory Council on Solid Waste Management in the State Department of Environmental Protection and Relating to the Department's Functions, Powers and Duties".

This statute, Chapter 39, was incorporated into our laws as N.J.S. 13:1E-1 et seq. and in Section 2 the Legislature expressed its concern when it made the following findings and declarations: "The collection, disposal and utilization of solid waste is a matter of grave concern to all citizens and is an activity thoroughly affected with the public interest; that the health, safety and welfare of the people of this State require efficient and reasonable solid waste collection and disposal service or efficient utilization of such waste, and that the current solid waste crisis should be resolved not only by the enforcement of more stringent and realistic regulations upon the solid waste industry but also through the development and formulation of statewide, regional, county and intercounty plans for solid waste management and guidelines to implement the plans."

Throughout that statute there is no mention of the concern of the Legislature below the inter-county level but by that statute, 13:1E-9, the Legislature provided that the codes, rules and regulations shall be observed throughout the State and shall be enforced by the Department and every local Board of Health. Thereafter the procedure for penalty provisions is set forth in actions commenced by the Commissioner of Environmental Control or by a local Board of Health. The rules and regulations have already been promulgated and adopted and these appear as Chapter 8, "Refuse Disposal."

These were the rules and regulations adopted by the Department and/or Commissioner of Health and although it had been adopted on a day prior to the passage of the legislation here in question by the department of Health of the State of New Jersey, its functions were transferred and the Environmental Protection Department accepted these in accordance with the authority set forth in the statute here in question and N.J.S.A. 26:1A-7.

On the same day the Legislature passed the Solid Waste Utility Control Act of 1970, and there are legislative findings made there in N.J.S. 48:13A-2 which restate the grave concern of all citizens and of the Legislature in the industry affected and makes a public utility out of those people who are engaged in solid waste collection and disposal and it gives to the Public Utility Commission the duty of establishing and enforcing standards and rates for the regulating of the economic aspects of the solid waste collection, disposal and utilization service. Under the two statutes anyone seeking to engage in this operation would be required to comply with stringent requirements and would first, before qualified as a public utility, be required to be found by the Board of Public Utilities Commissioners as qualified by experience, training or education to engage in the business, to furnish proof of financial responsibility and, most importantly, hold a certificate of public convenience and necessity issued by the Board of Public Utility Commissioners.

This is found in N.J.S. 48:13A-6, which concludes with the following sentence: "No certificate shall be issued for solid waste collection or solid waste disposal until the proposed collection or disposal system has been registered with and approved by the State Department of Environmental Protection as provided by law."

In Section 8 of the same statute the Public Utility Commission (the Board) can order any person in this State engaged in the solid waste collection business or the solid waste disposal business to extend his collection or disposal service into any area of the State where service has been discontinued in accordance with sections of the Public Utility Act heretofore enacted, R.S. 48:2-27.

A reading of both acts together with the regulation adopted seems to be a comprehensive plan on the part of the State to control all facets of this industry.

All counsel have acknowledged on this motion that the need was great for the State to step in and do something, that the concern was partially economic and rising ...

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