A Nicholas county trash fight between the county's recycling authority and a private waste hauler may be nearing its end but tensions remain.
For more than two years, the legal battle has spanned many actions before state courts and the state Public Service Commission.
There's even disagreement on when the argument began. The private hauler says the fight began six years ago with the landfill manager's employment contract, which allows him to also serve on the board.
The Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority says the argument began two years ago when the hauler filed a civil action seeking to block the authority's recycling program. Tensions continue, as the authority says the private hauler has taken his business elsewhere.
Most recently, the state Supreme Court sent a civil case, which sought to block the authority's recycling program, back to Nicholas Circuit Court, saying the lower court's certified questions would not be reviewed.
Private hauler Joe Young and Nicholas Sanitation filed the case against the Nicholas County Solid Waste Authority, Robert Johnson, Larry Bradford, Pat Justice, Gary Brown, Chris Mondreas and Larry Harrah.
David Mincer, a Charleston Bailey & Wyant attorney who represents the authority, explained the lower court ruled the authority could collect and transport recycling and could compete with Nicholas Sanitation.
According to court documents, the lower court said it was the authority's decision to collect and transport solid waste in connection with its recycling program and that doesn't violate the law.
The authority's recycling program has received national recognition. Last year, the Solid Waste Association of North America asked officials at the authority to present an online seminar about the program.
Mincer said based on the decision by the state's highest court, he anticipates an order by the end of the month to dismiss the case in its entirety.
Bradford, who serves as the authority's executive director, said Young recently took his business out of Nicholas County, by picking up trash in the county but taking revenue to the Raleigh County landfill.
Young is the largest hauler coming to the Nicholas County landfill and Bradford said this has left a giant hole in his business.
According to court documents, there are two other private haulers operating in Nicholas County.
"Abruptly Thursday morning, he pulled out of Nicholas County and is taking it to Raleigh County because it's a much cheaper tipping fee," Bradford said. "It's costing us $4,000 a day on average and about 80 grand a month on average to take out of this small operation."
Greg Sayre, executive director of the West Virginia Waste Hauling and Recycling Services Association, said the fight goes back longer than the state court action.