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E-M:/ out-of-state waste bill takes small step forward

Enviro-Mich message from davemec@voyager.net (dave dempsey)

A House subcommittee today approved on a 7-0 vote, with Rep. Howard Wetters
passing, a Senate-passed bill to limit out of state solid waste imports.
The vote sends the bill to the full House Conservation and Environment
Committee, but its future is uncertain.

The bill, S.B. 4, would require the state DEQ to review the solid waste
disposal standards of other states or countries sending garbage to Michigan
to assure they meet Michigan's standards, and bar shipments from those
jurisdictions that do not.  The constitutionality of this approach was
debated at length today.  Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith, who offered the
out-of-state waste amendment to S.B. 4 in the Senate, urged the
subcommittee to be "affirmative and bold" in adopting a policy to require
other states and countries to meet Michigan standards.  But Wetters said
the Smith amendment was a "fraud" because it would send the legislation to
the courts for an immediate challenge.  The DEQ and the garbage industry
also opposed the Smith amendment.

Rep. Tom Alley had proposed an amendment to require waste transporters to
certify their shipments do not contain waste barred from disposal in
Michigan, saying this was a way to avert constitutional challenges because
the amendment applied evenly to in-state transporters and those shipping
waste from out of state.  He did not formally offer the amendment today.

Rep. Bill Byl said he would offer amendments in the full committee to
tighten the Smith language, making it clear that the import ban would apply
only to states and provinces that don't ban exactly the same materials
which Michigan citizens can't send to landfills.

The bill's future is uncertain because it is vigorously opposed by the
garbage industry.  Several of those voting for the bill today were less
than enthusiastic.

The subcommittee also scheduled hearings on H.B. 5284, a bill sponsored by
Alley to substitute host community agreements for the current system of
waste flow control in solid waste plans.  Hearings are tentatively
scheduled on Feb. 3 in Detroit, 10 in Lansing, 17 in Grand Rapids, and 24
in Lansing.

Dave Dempsey
Michigan Environmental Council
119 Pere Marquette, Suite 2A
Lansing, MI  48912
(517) 487-9539
(517) 487-9541 (fax)

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