your trash: Mich. Congressman wants garbage
The Windsor Star
A Michigan congressman says Canada is turning his state
into a garbage dump and he is demanding a review that
could result in a ban on shipping municipal solid waste
across the border.
John Dingell says Canada has failed to notify the Environmental
Protection Agency about impending shipments of municipal
waste, mostly from Toronto, into the U.S. and accuses
the U.S. of wilfully looking the other way.
"Unfortunately, it appears that our own government doesn't
care if Michiganders are literally buried by unwanted,
imported trash," Dingell said Monday.
Dingell says that according to a 1992 amendment to a
bilateral agreement on the transboundary movement of hazardous
waste, Canada is obligated to give 30-days notice of individual
shipments or a series of shipments of municipal waste
into the U.S.
"To date, the EPA has never been notified or questioned
Canada's failure to contact them," said the Democratic
congressmen, adding that Canada has "total disregard"
of its obligations.
"It is outrageous that any administration would take
the time to enter into a notification agreement on imported
waste and then, over 10 years, never even bother to see
that it's implemented."
He said Canada is sending 4.4 million cubic metres of
municipal solid waste annually to Michigan, an increase
of 152 per cent over the past years, an amount representing
almost half the out-of-state waste dumped at Michigan
"As if Michigan isn't the recipient of enough trash,
the city of Toronto recently made a decision to use our
state as the dumping ground for all of its city trash,"
he said. "Apparently their land, which is plentiful, is
too precious for their own waste. It's past time for them
to learn to deal with their own messes."
Dingell has asked a U.S. House subcommittee to investigate
whether it has the authority to ban foreign imports.
"The thousands upon thousands of truckloads of Canadian
waste received each year deliver much more to Michigan
than garbage," said Dingell. "Each and every truck adds
to our already congested highways, spurs new concerns
over traffic safety, pollutes our air and eats up our
energy, not to mention our roads."
Dingell has sent a letter to EPA chief Christine Whitman,
calling on her to take "immediate and forceful action"
to ensure compliance with the 1992 agreement.
"Ten years of neglect and non-compliance with this important
bilateral agreement is outrageous," he wrote. "I call
upon you to act immediately in the best interest of the
citizens of Michigan and withhold consent for Canadian
municipal sold waste unless the affected local governments
and the governor approve."