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E-M:/ Don't Trash Michigan calls for action on trash issue

Enviro-Mich message from Mike Garfield <michaelg@ecocenter.org>

News Release

New DEQ Study Finds Trash Imports Up 35%
Environmentalists Call on Legislature to Quit Stalling Action

Mike Garfield (734) 761-3186 ext. 104
James Clift (517) 487-9539
Jeff Surfus (734) 426-1984

State environmentalists reacted sharply to a new report issued Monday by the
Michigan Department of Environmental Quality finds that waste imports into
Michigan have increased by 35% over the previous year.

³During the last year, virtually every politician in Michigan has said
theyıre going to stop the flow of trash into the state,² said James Clift,
Policy Director of the Michigan Environmental Council.  ³Over three dozen
bills have been introduced in the Senate and House, and not one has reached
the Governorıs desk yet.  Itıs time for the Legislature to stop talking
trash, and start taking action.²

Most of the rise in imports is due to increased volumes from Canada.  Of the
62.6 million cubic yards of garbage dumped in Michigan landfills last year,
9.4 million cubic yards (15.0%) were generated in Canada, and 6.1 million
(9.7%) in other U.S. states.  While the import total has increased 35% over
the previous year, the Canadian portion has jumped by 43%, mostly as a
result of the City of Torontoıs decision to send all of its waste to
Michigan.  The new report can be seen at

³Other states are moving forward as the Michigan Legislature twiddles its
thumbs,² said Mike Garfield, Director of the Ecology Center and one of the
coordinators of the Donıt Trash Michigan campaign.  ³In the last two years,
Wisconsin and Pennsylvania have responded to the wave of trash exports by
upping the fees they charge on all trash disposed there. Michigan is still
the only state in the Great Lakes region which doesnıt even have a solid
waste surcharge.²

In February 2003, thirty environmental, community, and faith-based
organizations unveiled the Donıt Trash Michigan campaign to promote
common-sense solutions for the stateıs waste management problems.  A package
of waste import bills have passed the Senate and a House committee, and now
await action by the full House.  A package of pro-recycling bills are being
considered by a Senate committee.

³Weıre pleased that the garbage problem received as much attention as it did
last year,² said Jeff Surfus, President of NO WASTE of Michigan.  ³But the
new DEQ report proves that the problem is getting worse fast.  We call on
House Speaker Rick Johnson to call up the waste bills for a vote.  Itıs time
for the Legislature to act now.²


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