Haulers Now Free to Work in Red Wing

J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · May 17, 2007

Minneapolis, Minn,—Today, less than six months after Paul Larson and Dale Gibson filed suit against the city of Red Wing, Minn., the trash hauling entrepreneurs’ rights to earn an honest living have been vindicated. The case, filed by the Institute for Justice Minnesota Chapter (IJ-MN) on December 6, 2006, became moot after Paul and Dale received their licenses today to operate their trash hauling businesses as part of a new ordinance that became effective May 1.

“Paul Larson and Dale Gibson can now work in Red Wing without facing discriminatory government regulations,” said Lee McGrath, Executive Director of IJ-MN. “We brought this case to defend the basic freedom to engage in interstate commerce that was being attacked by the city of Red Wing. We’re happy to say that the lawsuit has been successful in restoring our clients’ rights.”

Paul Larson of Hager, Wis. and Dale Gibson of Cannon Falls, Minn. each run a private trash hauling business and want nothing more than to work in Red Wing, Minn., without facing anti-competitive government barriers. Last August, however, the City Council passed an ordinance made it illegal for Paul and Dale to choose the waste-processing site that best serves them and their customers, forcing them instead to use and thereby subsidize the city’s inefficient trash incinerator. The law made it impossible for Paul and Dale to haul trash from Red Wing to less expensive and more environmentally friendly sites in Wisconsin and elsewhere, thus prohibiting free trade across state lines.

While the city has changed its ordinance, it hasn’t effectively addressed the financial problems of the municipal incinerator. Under a new law, residents and businesses must pay a new environmental service charge to subsidize the inefficient facility.

The Institute for Justice is a public interest law firm that advances a rule of law under which individuals can control their destinies as free and responsible members of society. IJ’s Minnesota Chapter litigates under the state and federal constitutions to reinvigorate economic liberty, preserve property rights and defend free speech.