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E-M:/ out-of-state waste: the engler whitewash

Enviro-Mich message from "Dave Dempsey" <davemec@voyager.net>

The Engler Administration has today released a worthless task force report
on the importation of trash from out of state.

It says nothing that was not known 18 months ago, when Engler created the
task force.  However, the task force did accomplish one thing:  it cost the
state crucial time as Toronto decided to double its exports of garbage to

It is interesting that while Engler has time to fly to sunny Florida to
launch vicious attacks against the Gore/Lieberman ticket, he has so far
failed to book himself on a flight to chilly Toronto to tell its officials
that we don't want that community's waste.

It takes no task force, no Constitutional amendment, and no action of
Congress to demonstrate a commitment to the environment.

December 1, 2000

Contact:     Ken Silfven (517) 241-7397
                   Seth Phillips (517) 373-4750

The Michigan Solid Waste Importation Task Force created by Governor John
Engler issued its final report today.

The task force, established by Executive Order 1999-3, was directed to
complete and submit a report to the governor and Department of Environmental
Quality Director Russell Harding by Dec. 1.

Its charge was to identify trends, causes and consequences of the
importation of solid waste; meet with members of Congress to encourage the
passage of federal legislation allowing Michigan to control the importation
of solid waste; and provide recommendations to the governor and DEQ director
concerning the control of interstate and international waste imports.

"Michigan remains concerned about the inability of states to control the
amount of waste entering their borders," Harding said. "The task forceís
conclusion that congressional action is key to addressing this problem is
compatible with Michiganís approach. We will continue being at the forefront
of this national dialogue and working with other states to encourage federal
legislation. I thank all task force members for lending their time and
expertise to this cause."

The task force met in five public meetings this year to examine data and
evaluate the causes and impacts of solid waste imports to Michigan. Its
conclusions and recommendations, discussed in greater detail in the report,

Current levels of solid waste imports are manageable without immediate
impacts on disposal capacity for Michigan residents.
Solid waste imports show a continuing trend to increase. Current events
suggest a potential for significant increases in waste imports to Michigan
and other importing states. If such increases occur, significant negative
impacts on Michiganís disposal capacity may result.
Significant increases in waste imports will undermine local efforts to
maintain and expand waste reduction and recycling efforts.
State legislative options to control imports from out of state are limited.
State legislation that will actually limit waste imports likely will not
withstand a constitutional challenge. Legislative approaches that will
withstand a constitutional challenge most likely will not be effective in
limiting imports.
Federal legislation to grant states reasonable authority to control waste
imports is necessary.
Federal legislation should balance the needs of communities to effectively
plan for integrated waste management programs for their long-term needs and
the needs of the disposal industry to operate effectively.
It is unlikely that the 106th Congress will consider legislation to address
this issue before the end of 2000.
The task force should develop a strategy to work with Michiganís
congressional delegation and the task force membersí respective national
organizations to urge enactment of legislation by the next Congress to
address this issue. Michigan should continue its efforts to coordinate with
other states to develop and promote the enactment of needed legislation.
Copies of the task force report are available by contacting the DEQís Waste
Management Division at (517) 373-2730 or by E-mail at levequel@state.mi.us.
The report also will soon be placed on the DEQ Internet web site under the
Waste Management Division at www.deq.state.mi.us/wmd.

Serving on the task force were representatives of the environmental
community, Legislature, local government and business community.


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