Cement Company Sues Dallas Over Bidding Rules

A Texas-based cement company filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging the city of Dallas and other municipalities violate state laws by giving preference during the bidding process to companies using cement made using environmentally friendly methods.

Dallas was the first entity in the area to require contractors bidding for jobs to use cement produced by a dry process kiln, according to the lawsuit. Other cities named in the lawsuit, including Arlington, Fort Worth and Plano, adopted similar resolutions.

Arlington City Attorney Jay Doegey declined to talk about the lawsuit, but said the city adopted the bidding measure "for environmental reasons."

But the Midlothian-based Ash Grove Cement Co. said in a statement that such practices violate state public contracting laws. Local municipalities can evaluate only "the quality and price of the product or service to be purchased" and can't give preference "to one bid over another for air quality purposes," according to an Ash Grove statement.

These bidding resolutions restricting how cement is produced limits competition for municipal contracts in North Texas, an Ash Grove official said.

Ash Grove attorney Marshall J. Doke said "this is not a case about air quality."

"In a rush to pass the cement purchasing resolutions under a slogan of 'cleaner air,' the cities of Dallas, Fort Worth, Arlington and Plano led the charge in ignoring public contracting rules...," Doke said. "Ash Grove is alleging that the defendants ignored state and federal law by taking actions that stifled competition."

Other government entities named in the lawsuit are Tarrant County and the Dallas school district. Representatives from the cities of Dallas, Plano and Fort Worth did not immediately return messages Wednesday left by The Associated Press.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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