Michigan, US groups seek fee to block Toronto trash

The Toronto Star reports on the potential use of a local economic instrument to halt the export of waste for disposal. US federal law and international treaties may keep Michigan from banning trash from Canada and other states, but a burial fee on all trash might achieve the same goal, say advocates.

A coalition of 21 environmental, religious and civic groups have launched the Don’t Trash Michigan. In recent weeks, a steady stream of garbage-filled trucks has been crossing the border, carrying the refuse of Toronto for burial at a landfill in Wayne County’s Sumpter Township, about 40 kilometres southeast of Detroit. The City of Toronto is paying about C$42 million over the next three years to ship its waste to Michigan.

Meanwhile, mayors of several cities in southwestern Ontario are trying to arrange a meeting with Premier Ernie Eves to discuss their concerns about Toronto’s trash being trucked to Michigan. The mayors don’t like the fact that 130 transport trucks full of Toronto garbage pass their communities every day. A spokesman for Eves said the premier has not yet decided on a meeting. The mayors want Eves to personally get involved in finding another solution to Toronto’s garbage problem. In 2001, Michigan imported 3.6 million tonnes of trash, about one-fifth of the state’s total trash. The Toronto trash will increase imports by about 1.1 million tonnes.

A central idea of the Don’t Trash Michigan campaign is to levy a landfill burial fee on all trash, he said. Such a surcharge would apply equally to imported and in-state waste, so it would not be a violation of interstate commerce or the North American Free Trade Agreement, he said.

The coalition says a fee would remove the economic incentive to dump trash in Michigan, the only Great Lakes state that does not levy a solid waste surcharge. Indiana charges up to US$3.10 per tonne while the cost is US$1.27 in Illinois, Spitzley said. Wisconsin charges US$3 a tonne, Ohio charges US$1.75, and Pennsylvania charges US$2 a tonne, plus US$1 a tonne for the host community, she said. The fee also would encourage recycling of waste generated in Michigan, Garfield said. The coalition proposes giving the money raised by fees to local recycling programs.

The coalition also wants the law changed to ban importation of trash that does not meet Michigan’s standards, such as trash containing yard waste, used motor oil or tires. Among other members of Don’t Trash Michigan are the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, League of Conservation Voters, Public Interest Research Group in Michigan, Michigan Environmental Council and League of Women Voters.

Ano da Publicação: 2003
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin #06-2003: February 23
Autor: Kit Strange (Warmer Bulletin)
Email do Autor: kit@residua.com

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