Earth Recycling loses legal battle over 'cease and desist' order

MINOT, N.D. – A Minot recycling plant still recovering from a devastating fire earlier this year may have to halt operations after a district judge rejected their request for a preliminary injunction Tuesday.

Judge Douglas Mattson denied a request from Earth Recycling, along with Divine Mercy, LLC who owns the land, for an injunction against a "cease and desist" order from the city of Minot.

A large fire in May destroyed the facility that lies just off of the Highway 83 bypass, just west of Minot but within the city’s jurisdictional boundaries.

The city filed the "cease and desist" order back in July, arguing that the plant’s owners needed to reapply for zoning ordinances updated in 2013.

The owners contended the facility should be grandfathered into the zoning ordinances in 2008 when the plant opened.

The two sides laid out their cases last week, in a hearing that lasted more than three hours.

The Jesz family testified at the hearing that they would suffer financial hardships and have to lay off as many as six employees if they had to close.

They also said that they had to continue their recycling operations in order to finish the cleanup process and comply with state health requirements.

In his order, Mattson said that the 2013 ordinance would apply, arguing that Earth Recycling did not meet its burden of proof to be grandfathered in to the older law.

Mattson said the temporary restraining order previously granted against the city’s "cease and desist" would expire at the close of business Tuesday.

Mattson did say in his order that the parties and the public should both come to a solution to allow Earth Recycling to continue its cleanup.