It is important to note, however, that while we send hazardous waste to Canada, we do so under the terms of the Bilateral Agreement Between the Government of the United States and the Government of Canada Concerning the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste, signed at Ottawa in 1986.
In other words, both countries have a regulatory mechanism in place to deal with the shipments. AND, MOST IMPORTANTLY, notice and consent provisions are firmly in place. In other words, we ask, and Canada always has the right to say no to any shipment or series of shipments for up to a year.
The Bilateral Agreement was amended in 1992 to also govern municipal solid waste. However, the US has not implemented the notice and consent provisions. In other words, for 13 years, the US has not done its job on this matter.
The bill (HR 2491) that is pending before the US House (and passed both the Subcommittee and full Committee by unanimous vote - and is being held up by R leadership) would simply require the EPA to implement this part of the Agreement, which both countries signed in 1992. EPA would have 2 years to finalize regulations, and in the meantime, the state could institute some reasonable constraints.
Just to stick in my two cents... A friend of mine wrote me (and I add his words with permission):
"We have a lot to do here. They have a lot to do in Ontario. It's a very small planet. The way things are now it's as if I was able to just dump my trash over the fence into the neighbor's yard, and not deal with it.
However, a more important point in the big picture way of looking at things is the little publicized fact that we send lots of our hazardous industrial waste TO Ontario, and it is dumped in a hazardous waste dump right near the Great Lakes north of Windsor! The dump is supposedly "lined" but is right in the watershed leading to the lakes. And then there is the chemical plant on the Canadian side that keeps having spills that affect everybody on both sides down river, etc., etc.
If it all collapses, we all choke to death, and the Earth ends up like Mars--it won't make much difference whose ox was gored and on which side of the polluted, dead, toxic river."
I did not know that we SENT hazardous stuff TO Ontario. If that is the case, we certainly don't have control of the 'moral high ground'.
Peter Collins wrote:
You have a lifetime to work, but children are only young once.