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June 2007

House approves bill to limit Canadian trash

The United States House of Representatives unanimously approved H.R. 518, the International Solid Waste Importation Act. Introduced by United States Representative John Dingell (D-Dearborn), the measure has been co-sponsored by every single Michigan member of the House, including Representative Sander Levin (D-Royal Oak).

Below is Mr. Levin’s statement on the bill:

“As a co-sponsor of H.R. 518, I rise in strong support of this measure. The issue of waste coming into Michigan from Ontario is one of great concern to the people I represent, and I appreciate Rep. Dingell’s tireless efforts to move this legislation.

“Like the bill approved by the House last year, the International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act directs the Environmental Protection Agency to implement and enforce the Agreement Concerning the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste between the United States and Canada. The Administrator is required to issue final regulations within 24 months after the date of enactment.

“The legislation further requires the Administrator of EPA, when considering whether to consent to a shipment of foreign municipal solid waste, to give substantial weight to the views of the recipient State or States. The EPA must also consider the impact of the shipment on local recycling programs, landfill capacity, road deterioration, homeland security, public health and the environment, among other factors.

“As I mentioned, the bill before the House is nearly identical to the legislation that the House approved last September. Unfortunately, the former leadership of the Senate failed to take up the bill last year, despite bipartisan pleas from Michigan’s House delegation urging prompt action. Now that the Senate is under new management, I hope we can at last address this longstanding problem and get a bill to the President’s desk for signature.

“Our nation has no closer friend in the world than Canada, but the current trash arrangement in which hundreds of trash trucks cross the border each day on their way to Michigan landfills is simply untenable. The legislation before the House builds on the agreement that Michigan’s two Senators negotiated with the government of Ontario last year to reduce municipal waste shipments from Canada over the next four years.

“I urge all my colleagues to join me in supporting the legislation before the House.”

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