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E-M:/ press release: first trash, now sludge

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>Date: Wed, 4 Jun 1997 11:37:54 -0500
>To: enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>From: ecaa@igc.org (ecology center)
>Subject: E-M:/ press release: first trash, now sludge
>Sender: owner-enviro-mich@great-lakes.net
>Reply-To: ecaa@igc.org (ecology center)
>Enviro-Mich message from ecaa@igc.org (ecology center)
>June 4, 1997, Ann Arbor, Michigan - In the latest development of Canadian
>waste entering Michigan, the City of Windsor, Ontario will vote Monday on a
>contract to truck its municipal sewage sludge to Browning Ferris Industries'
>(BFI's) Arbor Hills Landfill in Washtenaw County, Michigan.  Under the
>contract, Windsor will send all its treated municipal sludge  --
>approximately 33,000 tons -- to the landfill for a period of 16 months.
>A bi-national coalition of environmental organizations blasted the move as
>one more step to turn Michigan into the dumping ground of North America.
>"First we get what they throw in the garbage can.  Now we get what they flush
>down the toilet!" said Jeff Surfus of the Toronto Trash Campaign, an Ann
>Arbor-based grassroots group calling for limitation of the import of waste
>from out of state and for reform of landfill laws in Michigan.  "Unless
>legislative changes are made, those of us who live in Michigan can expect to
>receive more garbage and sewage in our backyards from farther and farther
>away.  Michigan is quickly becoming the waste dumping ground
>for the midwestern U.S. and Ontario."
>BFI's Arbor Hills landfill has been the target of scrutiny by environmental
>groups in Michigan because of a contract between BFI and the City of
>Toronto, Ontario, which will allow 500,000 tons per year of Toronto's
>municipal garbage to be disposed at the landfill beginning in 1998.
>Environmental groups in Michigan and Ontario have protested this and other
>contracts allowing out-of-state waste to be disposed in Michigan.
>"Powerful waste companies are forcing small, rural townships to site
>landfills near people's homes and farms," said Mike Garfield, Director of
>the Ecology Center.  "Once the dumps are sited, the landfill's neighbors
>have no say over where the landfill's waste comes from, and no way to keep
>their drinking water wells clean."
>Due to accomodating landfill laws in Michigan, the state has more than enough
>landfill capacity for the next 15 years.  Rather than conserving space in
>landfills for future disposal, Michigan landfill operators such as BFI are
>charging minimal tipping (disposal) fees to attract customers to the
>landfills.  According to Resource Recovery Systems, a solid waste consulting
>firm based in Ann Arbor, tipping fees in Michigan average from $21 to $34 per
>ton.  This compares to tipping fee averages in other states and provinces of
>$28 up to $75 per ton.
>Michigan's tipping fees have caught the attention of waste generators
>throughout the Midwest and Canada.  In 1996, approximately 15% of Michigan's
>landfilled waste came from out of state.
>Under the Windsor contract, Prism-Berlie, a Canadian firm, would truck the
>sludge into Michigan for disposal.   According to sources in Windsor, BFI
>has agreed to accept the sludge at a tipping fee of $13 per ton, a rate low
>even by Michigan standards.
>The Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), the Ecology Center, the Toronto
>Trash Campaign, and other groups are calling for the following steps to
>address this problem:
>1.  Passage of a bill sponsored by State Representative Liz Brater (D-Ann
>Arbor) which would place a moratorium on further landfill siting in Michigan;
>2.  Passage in the State House of a bill sponsored by State Senator Loren
>Bennett (R-Canton) that would ban the import of waste into Michigan; and
>3.  Enactment of federal legislation allowing states to control the import of
>"The Michigan Legislature shouldn't go home for the summer without sending
>a clear message it wants to stop out-of-state waste," said Dave Dempsey,
>MEC Policy Director.  "To do less will invite further imports of trash and
>The Toronto Trash Campaign is a grassroots group organized to stop waste
>imports.  The Ecology Center is a regional environmental organization which
>conducts environmental education and citizen action programs in southeast
>Michigan.  The Michigan Environmental Council is a statewide coalition of
>45 organizations.
>Jeff Surfus, Toronto Trash Campaign, (313) 426-1984
>Mike Garfield, Ecology Center,  (313) 761-3186 ext. 104
>Dave Dempsey, Michigan Environmental Council,  (517) 487-9539
>Ecology Center of Ann Arbor
>117 N. Division
>Ann Arbor, MI  48104
>(313)663-2400 or (313)761-3186(ph)
>ENVIRO-MICH:  Internet List and Forum for Michigan Environmental
>and Conservation Issues and Michigan-based Citizen Action.
>Postings to:  enviro-mich@great-lakes.net      For info, send email to
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