LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed a bipartisan package of legislation designed to curb the flow of trash into Michigan landfills. The Governor signed the new laws in two communities in southeast Michigan that have been hit hard by the high volume of Canadian trash being dumped into Michigan landfills.
“Today, we take a critical step in putting a lid on Michigan’s unwanted reputation as the country’s trashcan,” said Granholm. “This is a critical environmental milestone for this state. If we are going to turn Michigan’s environmental treasures over to our children tomorrow, we must do everything we can to protect that environment today.
“The steps we take in these new laws will help us reduce the amount of trash our state is currently being forced to take,” Granholm added. “These new laws also help us protect the health and safety of Michigan citizens who live in the communities where this trash is deposited.”
Surrounded by bill sponsors, leading legislative advocates, and concerned citizens, the Governor signed one set of new laws in a Sumpter Township park in Wayne County, which overlooks the Carleton Farms Landfill. Nearly 1.55 million tons of trash, mostly from the City of Toronto in Ontario, was trucked to the landfill in 2003. The Governor signed a second set of laws at a Macomb County high school. Macomb County is home to Pine Tree Acres Landfill, where up to 80 trucks a day dump 40 tons of trash each from communities in western Ontario.
“Michigan’s state motto is, ‘If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you,’” Granholm said. “It is not, ‘If you seek a landfill, we have many available.’ I want to commend lawmakers on passing legislation that will better allow us to site landfills based on capacity need.”
The Governor thanked all the bill sponsors and leading legislative advocates, including State Representative Kathleen Law (D-Gibraltar) who has fought for passage of the new laws to help the families of her district, which includes the Carleton Farms Landfill; and State Representative Paul Gieleghem (D-Clinton Township) who has been a leader on the issue since first being elected in 1998 and who wrote the legislation that serves as the model for most of the new laws signed today.
Granholm also praised lawmakers for new laws that will give the state leverage to prohibit solid waste from other countries and states if it does not conform to Michigan’s solid waste regulations. For example, the new laws would require any solid waste going into Michigan landfills to not include certain beverage containers, whole tires, oil, lead acid batteries, low-level radioactive waste, and hazardous waste – all items prohibited in Michigan landfills. The new laws also give county and municipal governments the right to enforce solid waste laws, require inspections of solid waste imported from Canada, enhance the inspection of landfills, and provide increased penalties for violations of solid waste laws.
A list of the new laws signed today and a brief explanation of them is attached.
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New Laws Signed Today to Curb the Flow of Trash Into Michigan Landfills
House Bill 5234 sponsored by Representative Daniel Acciavatti (R-Chesterfield Township) – regulates disposal of solid waste in landfills.
House Bill 5235 sponsored by Representative David Robertson (R-Grand Blanc Township) – requires host community agreements for solid waste disposal areas.
Senate Bill 57 sponsored by Senator Mike Bishop (R-Rochester) – requires inspection of solid waste imported from Canada to determine if waste is being transported under state rules and if that the waste poses no threat to the public’s health and safety.
Senate Bill 497 sponsored by Senator Buzz Thomas (D-Detroit) – provides the definition of “beverage container” under the solid waste management law.
Senate Bill 498 sponsored by Senator Patty Birkholz (R-Saugatuck Township) – expands prohibited products in landfills to include beverage containers, whole tires, oil, lead acid batteries, low-level radioactive waste and hazardous waste.
Senate Bill 499 sponsored by Senator Alan Sanborn (R-Richmond) – enhances inspections of landfills.
Senate Bill 500 sponsored by Senator Dennis Olshove (D-Warren) – provides increased remedies for violations of enforcement of solid waste laws.
Senate Bill 502 sponsored by Senator Nancy Cassis (R-Novi) – provides regulations for importing solid waste.
Senate Bill 506 sponsored by Senator Bruce Patterson (R-Canton) – prohibits out-of-state or out-of-country waste unless prohibited waste has been removed or the other state or province has solid waste stream standards as stringent as Michigan’s.
Senate Bill 557 sponsored by Senator Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor) – provides for the Department of Environmental Quality to issue landfill construction permits based on capacity need.
Senate Bill 715 sponsored by Senator Jud Gilbert (R-Algonac) – provides for county and municipal enforcement of solid waste.