Michigan senators: Not in my backyard

| 7/18/2006

For several years, trash from Canada’s largest city, Toronto, has made its way by truck into Michigan landfills via a mutual agreement.

But that could change, thanks to some elected representatives and angry Michigan constituents.

U.S. Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, both Democrats from Michigan, received Senate approval on a Homeland Security bill that changes the inspection criteria enough to potentially make it unprofitable for the trash contracts to continue.

The measure calls for $420 in inspection fees per truck, along with stricter screening processes at the border.

A report in March by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security showed proper inspections were lacking and that illegal waste and medical waste were ending up in Michigan landfills.

Michigan’s Republican government had approved the contracts to accept Canadian trash, which is allowed under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

About 350 Canadian trash trucks per day cross the border on the way to U.S. dump sites. The proposed bill may force Canadian cities like Toronto to look elsewhere for trash disposal options.

For the bill to pass on Capitol Hill, the House would have to approve the Senate’s measure.