DETROIT (AP) – U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow, having helped arrange an agreement that significantly reduced the amount of Canadian waste entering Michigan, is now looking to keep it all out of her state.
The Lansing Democrat plans to introduce legislation aimed at stopping private Canadian waste from being shipped into the state.
Stabenow announced in January that she and fellow Michigan Sen. Carl Levin helped foster an agreement that stopped municipal waste shipments to Michigan.
But the city shipments that were halted represent only 40 percent of the trash entering the state from Canada. Waste from private companies continues to come in.
And it’s those shipments that Stabenow is looking to end with the Stop Canadian Trash Act, which she was to be unveiled at a news conference Wednesday in Montrose, home to the Brent Run landfill.
Brent Run is one of three Michigan landfills that account for 90 percent of the Canadian waste dumped in the state, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.
“Canadian trash poses serious health, safety and security threats to Michigan families and communities,” Stabenow said in a statement. “Senator Levin and I were able to stop Ontario’s city waste from being dumped in our backyard, but now it’s time to stop the rest of the trash coming across the border.”
Stabenow’s bill would change the financial incentives that make it cheaper for Canadian companies to dump their waste in Michigan.
The Stop Canadian Trash Act would require Canadian companies that ship waste to the U.S. to pay a $500 user fee at the border to provide Homeland Security personnel the resources they need to inspect every trash truck.
The fee would be assessed on trucks carrying foreign trash handled or collected by any means from residential, commercial and industrial sources.
Currently, international trash trucks generally pay $5 to haul waste into the United States, and only 1 percent are randomly screened by U.S Customs and Border Protection.
The “bill will have a real impact on the Brent Run landfill, where Canada is the leading contributor of trash,” said Genesee County Commissioner Archie Bailey.
Michigan residents complain that trucks carrying Canadian garbage cause environmental and health problems, harm roads and create security risks because of the difficulty of screening trash for contraband.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)