Many companies in Baton Rouge and elsewhere in Louisiana must obtain a variety of licenses from state, county or municipal governments in order to operate their businesses lawfully. Businesses that deal with hazardous materials are especially subject to governmental regulation. Modern American Recycling Services, a company in Terrebonne Parish that recycles industrial waste, sued the parish alleging unfair treatment in the handling of its recent hazardous waste permit applications for 2017 and 2018.

The issue involves the company’s method of handling what is called “naturally occurring radioactive material.” In the past, MARS has shipped equipment containing naturally occurring radioactive material to other sites for cleaning and then the equipment is returned to the company’s plant in Gibson for final cleaning, dismantling and recycling. The company’s first application for a hazardous waste permit was denied in 2017. A second application in 2018 was granted by the parish board but the parish president vowed to veto the permit. After the president’s power to veto the permit was questioned, the parish staff issued the permit with some harsh conditions.

After the permit application of another recycling company was allegedly approved with no qualifications, MARS sued Terrebonne Parish for violation of the equal protection clause of the federal constitution. The complaint also alleges that naturally occurring radioactive material should not be classified as hazardous waste and that the parish has no right to require the company to obtain a permit. MARS is also alleging that a family member of a “high-ranking member” of the parish government has an interest in a competing firm.

If you have questions regarding permits or any other business law questions, it might be wise to contact an attorney.