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E-M:/ Trash - Don't Wait for the Feds!

For Immediate Release
Monday, September 12, 2005

Contact: Brad van Guilder
Phone: (734) 663-2400 ext 114
Mobile: (313) 205-6386

Don't Wait for the Feds!
Environmentalists urge Legislature to act now to stop out-of-state trash

Lansing - As state House Republicans today unveiled proposals for out-of-state waste
contingent on action by the U.S. Congress, environmentalists called on the Legislature to take
action now that does not depend on federal approvals.
"Michigan should not wait for the Feds," said Brad van Guilder of the Ecology Center, a
key leader of Don't Trash Michigan. "We need to address the fundamental economics behind
Michigan's trash problems - right now, it's too cheap to dump in Michigan landfills.
The Michigan legislature can and should act quickly to pass dumping charge (surcharge)
legislation to protect and benefit Michigan communities."
The House Republican proposed legislation would eventually allow Michigan to block
Canadian trash once both chambers of Congress pass legislation giving states the authority to
block foreign sources of garbage, but would do nothing about the trash from other states which
amounted to over 3 million tons last year. The courts previously ruled that only Congress can
grant such authority. Congress has been deadlocked over granting such authority for both
foreign and domestic trash, but may grant legally precarious authority to block foreign trash.
The legislation is precarious because it could be seen as discriminatory toward foreign trash and
run afoul of NAFTA.
"What is really needed is a dumping charge that applies universally to all trash," said
van Guilder. Michigan currently charges only 21 cents per ton to dump in Michigan landfills.
Since it imposed a $7.25 per ton dumping charge in 2002, Pennsylvania - the nation's top
importer of garbage - has reduced trash imports for three consecutive years, from 12.6 million
tons in 2001 to 10.1 million tons in 2004, Waste News reported in August.
Governor Granholm signed legislation in March 2004 that was the first step in dealing
with out-of-state trash. Dumping charge legislation has been introduced in the past by both
Democrats and Republicans. In September 2003 Senate Republican's endorsed a dumping
charge (surcharge) in the final report of The Michigan Beverage Container and Recycling Task
. Current dumping charge proposals have been introduced by Democrats in both the state
House and the state Senate. Environmentalists urge the parties to work together to develop
bipartisan dumping charge legislation.
"Funds collected by a dumping charge would go back to Michigan municipalities to
provide the resources they need for important programs such as boosting Michigan's poor
recycling rate with the added benefit of discouraging out-of-state trash," said van Guilder.

Brad van Guilder, Ph. D.
Community Organizer

Ecology Center
117 North Division Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-1580

(734) 663-2400 ext 114
(734) 663-2414 FAX
(313) 205-6386 CELL Not available while driving!


UAW Local 174 Environmental Committee Chair
UAW Region 1A Toxic Waste Squad