Chemical Waste Management, Inc. v. Hunt

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Chemical Waste Management, Inc. v. Hunt
Argued April 21, 1992
Decided June 1, 1992
Full case nameChemical Waste Management, Inc., petitioner v. Guy Hunt, Governor of Alabama et al., respondents
Citations504 U.S. 334 (more)
112 S. Ct. 2009; 119 L. Ed. 2d 121; 60 U.S.L.W. 4433; 34 ERC 1721; 22 Envtl. L. Rep. 20,909
Case history
PriorHunt v. Chemical Waste Mgmt., Inc. 584 So.2d 1367 (Ala. 1991)
No state may attempt to isolate itself from a problem common to the several States by raising barriers to the free flow of interstate trade; a fee on the importation of out-of-state waste constitutes a barrier to interstate trade. Supreme Court of Alabama reversed and case remanded with instructions.
Court membership
Chief Justice
William Rehnquist
Associate Justices
Byron White · Harry Blackmun
John P. Stevens · Sandra Day O'Connor
Antonin Scalia · Anthony Kennedy
David Souter · Clarence Thomas
Case opinions
MajorityWhite, joined by Blackmun, Stevens, O'Connor, Scalia, Kennedy, Souter, Thomas
Laws applied
U.S. Const. Art. I § 8

Chemical Waste Management, Inc. v. Hunt, 504 U.S. 334 (1992), was a United States Supreme Court case that held that an Alabama law imposing a fee (of $72 per ton) on out-of-state hazardous waste being disposed of in-state violated the Dormant Commerce Clause.[citation needed]

Opinion of the Court[edit]

The state law was found to discriminate against out-of-state commerce. Justice White explained that "No state may attempt to isolate itself from a problem common to the several States by raising barriers to the free flow of interstate trade," relying on Philadelphia v. New Jersey (1978) as precedent.

The Court suggested two less-discriminatory alternatives to the fee on out-of-state hazardous waste:

  • A generally-applicable, additional fee per ton of all hazardous waste disposed of within Alabama, regardless of its source.
  • A per-mile tax on all vehicles transporting hazardous waste across Alabama roads.


Chief Justice Rehnquist dissented arguing that States may wish to avoid the risks to public health and environment by regulating the disposal of hazardous waste. He continued to say that since taxes are a recognized and effective means for discouraging the consumption of scarce commodities, which he in this case had deemed the environment. Then there was nothing unconstitutional or discriminatory about the state of Alabama's taxes.

Related cases[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ White v. Massachusetts Council of Constr. Employers, Inc., 460 U.S. 204, 206 (1983).
  2. ^ Reeves, Inc. v. Stake, 447 U.S. 429, 436 (1980).
  3. ^ Hughes v. Alexandria Scrap Corp., 426 U.S. 794, 810 (1976).

Further reading[edit]

  • O'Leary, Rosemary (1997). "Trash Talk: The Supreme Court and the Interstate Transportation of Waste". Public Administration Review. American Society for Public Administration. 57 (4): 281–284. doi:10.2307/977308. JSTOR 977308.

External links[edit]