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E-M:/ Dingell Hails House Passage of Canadian Trash Legislation

Committee on Energy and Commerce
Congressman John D. Dingell, Chairman

For Immediate Release: 
April 24, 2007
Contact:  Jodi Seth or Alec Gerlach
Dingell Hails House Passage of Canadian Trash Legislation


            Washington, D.C. ?
Today, for the second time, the US House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation allowing states to curb the importation of foreign municipal waste.  H.R. 518, the International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2007, sponsored by Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman John D. Dingell (D-MI), would implement the bilateral U.S.-Canadian Agreement concerning the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.  H.R. 518, the International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2007 passed the House by voice vote. 


The bill was co-sponsored by
the entire Michigan delegation and several members from the Committee on Energy and Commerce, which has jurisdiction over the issue. 


?I am again pleased to tell the people of Michigan that we have passed a bill that will lessen both risks to public health and the environment and make our borders safer,? said Dingell.  ?While the Michigan delegation of the House has worked together to move this legislation forward, we have obstacles yet to surpass.  I urge the Senate to take up H.R. 518 this spring.?


In 1992, the U.S. and Canada agreed that the bilateral agreement would apply also to municipal solid waste.  H.R. 518 requires the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency to issue regulations to implement the agreement within two years.  The bill also authorizes states to enact laws or issue regulations to control foreign municipal solid waste until the Administrator issues final regulations to implement the bilateral agreement.  Any regulations or laws the State enacts can stay in effect after federal regulations are finalized.


Rep. Dingell has argued the Bush Administration should be complying with the ?notice and consent? provisions of the bilateral agreement, which requires that both countries use "best efforts" in the absence of regulations.  Canada is a party to the Basel Convention, which specifically prohibits signatories from exporting waste to a non-party like the U.S.  The U.S.-Canadian bilateral agreement is the only convention allowing waste to travel between the two countries.


The Committee on Energy and Commerce passed H.R. 518 by voice vote on March 22, 2007.


In the 109th Congress, the International Solid Waste Importation and Management Act of 2006, passed the House by a voice vote, but was not considered by the Senate before the Congress adjourned.
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Chairman Dingell?s Remarks on the Floor attached:
Statement of Rep. John D. Dingell
Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce
U.S. House of Representatives
H.R. 518
April 24, 2007

?Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of H.R. 518, the ?International Solid Waste Management Act of 2007?.  This legislation is very important to the people in Michigan, and it has been sponsored with great enthusiasm by all members of the Michigan delegation in a thoroughly bipartisan fashion.  Reps. Rogers, Stupak, Upton, Ehlers, McCotter, Levin, Conyers, Kildee, Miller, Kilpatrick, Camp, Knollenberg, Hoekstra, and Walberg have worked very hard together to bring this legislation to the House floor.
            ?I want to commend our Subcommittee Chairman, Rep. Wynn, for his able and effective leadership in moving this bill through the Committee and similarly recognize the efforts of the Gentleman from Ohio, Mr. Gillmor, in the last Congress.
            ?This legislation is identical to the bill that the House of Representatives passed without opposition last September.  In this Congress, it was reported out of both the Subcommittee on Environment and Hazardous Materials and the full Committee on Energy and Commerce by voice vote.
            ?H.R. 518 requires the Environmental Protection Agency to enforce the notice and consent provisions of the bilateral U.S.-Canadian Agreement, an Agreement signed by the United States in 1986, to govern the transboundary movement of hazardous waste, and amended in 1992 to include municipal solid waste.
            ?Now, I note that the Administration should comply with the notice and consent provisions of the bilateral agreement, which requires that both countries use ?best efforts,? absent regulation.
            ?Unfortunately, the Administration has made no effort to implement the bilateral agreement.  Legislation was promised ?soon? by the Administration almost four years ago.  It has yet to arrive. 
            ?Michigan?s ability to manage the importation of solid waste is crucial to comprehensive and environmentally-sound solid waste management.  Since 1996, when Michigan first began collecting the data, we have seen a 350 percent rise in the amount of Canadian waste disposed of in Michigan, going from 2.7 million cubic yards to 12.1 million cubic yards.
            ?The 300 to 400 trucks of waste that cross the bridges every day from Canada into Michigan are more than just a nuisance.  The trucks and the cargo pose an environmental risk, a security risk, a potential hazard to health, and are a detriment to our roads.
            ?H.R. 518 would ensure that the U.S. Canadian Agreement is both properly implemented and properly enforced.  The bill provides criteria to ensure that the views of State and local Governments are properly taken into account in implementing the bilateral agreement and adds the necessary enforcement authority.  This legislation would also give Michigan and other States more authority to regulate foreign waste until the Environmental Protection Agency?s final regulations go into effect.  Laws or regulations enacted or issued during the interim time period may stay in effect beyond the date that Federal regulations become effective.
            ?The bill also clearly states that this legislation does not affect, replace, or amend prior law relating to the need for consistency with international trade obligations.
            ?I am pleased that the House is moving forward this excellent bipartisan bill that offers significant relief to Michigan and other States that may experience similar problems.
            ?I urge my colleagues to support the passage of H.R. 518.?
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