Lawmakers want to do more than bury the trash

| 4/3/2006

While state and federal lawmakers keep pushing ahead to ban or curb municipal waste from Canada from making it into Michigan landfills, the Ontario Trucking Association is opposing an increase of inspection fees.

Toronto and other cities export trash under contract with several sites in Michigan, sending more than 100 truckloads per day.

Some Michigan lawmakers, with the help of U.S. Sens. Carl Levin, D-MI, and Norm Coleman, R-MN, want the dumping fees to be increased to a level that would deflate the profitability of the contracts.

OTA opposes such a movement, according to a letter OTA President David Bradley sent to Canadian Minister of International Trade David Emerson.

“Not only would this impede the lawful shipment of municipal trash to the U.S. but it could also set a dangerous precedent for similar action against other Canadian commodities at some point in the future,” Bradley said in the letter.

Michigan state lawmakers point to a recent report that identified medical waste and illegal materials in the landfills delivered by the Canadian trucks. They say the source of the illegal material is difficult to track and could create a security risk.

So far, attempts to ban imported trash have failed in Michigan.

Congress would have to approve any measures on a federal level.