laws may face legal battle
By Marty Niedbala
Royal Oak Daily Tribune
Waste not. Want not. The author of that proverb would be
proud of Michigan legislators for passing bills that will
restrict out-of-state and Canadian trash from being dumped
The state is barred from banning out-of-state trash due
to a commerce clause in the U.S. Constitution. But House
Bills 4098 and 4099 put stricter requirements on the trash
that crosses the state's borders.
State Rep. Dave Woodward, D-Royal Oak, said the impetus
for the bills was to reduce the incentive to import garbage
"We don't want the Great Lakes State to become the
Great Waste State," said Woodward Thursday during
a public forum on environmental issues in Royal Oak. He
noted Gov. Jennifer Granholm has said she will sign the
bills into law.
According to the Michigan Department of Environmental
Quality, waste from other states increased by 35 percent
last year, while Canadian trash went up 43 percent.
Woodward said there are many reasons why Michigan is
such a trash magnet.
"Canadian trash laws are very strict. It's cheaper
for them and other states to dump their trash here,"
Woodward said. "Also, we have the highest (truck)
weight limits in the country."
This also sounds the bell for the waste industry in the
state to begin a legal front against the bills. Woodward
said those who run landfills and trash haulers fought
hard to stop the legislation and are expected to sue the
state to stop its implementation.
"We've been threatened with lawsuits by those in
the waste industry," Woodward said. "We believe
we stand on strong constitutional ground.
"These bills are not restricting trucks for carrying
on commerce. To put the trash into the ground, the firms
need to meet our requirements."
HB 4098 rejects out-of-state trash that does not meet
the state standards for items like batteries and motor
oil. HB 4099 adds returnable containers that are covered
under Michigan's bottle deposit law.