New fees on Canadian trash trucks
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced July
18 that the Senate has unanimously approved her legislation directing
United States Customs and Border Patrol to charge fees of approximately
$420 per trash truck to Canadian companies dumping waste in Michigan.
The fees will pay for comprehensive security inspections
at the border. The provision, cosponsored by United States Senator
Carl Levin (D-MI), was included as part of the fiscal year 2007
Homeland Security appropriations bill.
“This is a major victory for Michigan, and
our message is loud and clear,” Stabenow said. “Until
the Administration uses its authority to stop the trash completely,
it should be the Canadian trash haulers, not American taxpayers,
footing the bill for these inspections.”
Every day, more than 350 trash trucks cross the
border from Canada on their way to Michigan landfills. The Department
of Homeland Security reports that it will take four Customs agents
four hours to physically inspect each trash truck. In recent years,
inspections have turned up hazardous waste, radioactive materials,
illegal drugs and counterfeit money. Because the screening of Canadian
trash trucks is so inadequate, the trucks are an attractive target
for terrorists and other criminals.
In addition to improved screening of trash for
security threats, the steep inspection fees in the Stabenow amendment
are an important step toward making it unprofitable for Canada to
dump its trash in Michigan.
Stabenow successfully laid the groundwork to charge
inspection fees with an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution
earlier this year. On March 30, 2006, the Committee on Homeland
Security’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released
a report calling on Congress to enact the fees proposed by the Stabenow
amendment to pay for more rigorous inspection of international trash