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E-M:/ News Release: House Trash Action Called 'Bold'

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       More information:
Wednesday, April 18, 2007                                          Cyndi Roper 517-490-1394
                                                                                    Brad van Guilder 313-205-6386
                                                                                    David Holtz 517-203-0754

House Action On Out-of-State Trash Applauded
Bold Move by Democrats Puts Pressure on Senate To Act

 EAST LANSING—Environmental groups today applauded state House Democrats on taking a dramatic step toward curbing out-of-state trash when the state House Tuesday approved a measure to raise Michigan’s below-market waste dumping charges.

 “This is the single most significant step forward the state of Michigan has taken in many years in addressing the problem of mounting Canadian and out-of-state trash being dumped in our state,” said Cyndi Roper, Clean Water Action Great Lakes Policy Director. “The people have demanded action, Democratic candidates promised action, and they are now acting to deliver on that promise.  It has been clear for a long time that the best way to address this issue is to deal with the economics of trash.  As long as Michigan is a cheap place to dump trash, we will be the region’s dumping grounds.”

 “The next step will be for the state House to act on a proposed moratorium on landfill expansions and to make sure a significant portion of the dumping charge goes toward improving recycling rates and solid waste programs and guaranteeing that local communities directly benefit from these increased revenues,” said Brad van Guilder, Community Organizer for the Ecology Center

 “The big pressure now is on the state Senate,” said Roper. “Senators should follow the House’s action and make sure the state ends the official policy of having Michigan be the cheapest place to dump trash in the Great Lakes region.”

 Since late 2006, more than 19,000 letters supporting the increased dumping charge and a new moratorium on landfill expansion have been mailed to lawmakers from Clean Water Action members throughout the state.  Clean Water Action and the Ecology Center, in partnership with the Michigan Environmental Council, have been spearheading the Don’t Trash Michigan campaign to curb out-of-state and Canadian trash and improve recycling rates in Michigan.  The action in the Michigan House comes on the one-year anniversary of Clean Water Action’s pledge drive seeking commitments from members of the Michigan Legislature to solve the state’s trash problems.

In the bill passed Tuesday, 56-52, all the money raised from tipping fees goes to a new recycling fund.  It raises the dumping charge from .21 cents to $7.50—a rate closer to that charged by some surrounding Great Lakes states.  A second bill that would send the estimated $150 million - $200 million in landfill revenues to local governments for recycling and other services did not pass but is expected to be taken up later by the state House Committee on the Great Lakes and Environment.