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Great Lakes Article:

Canada failing to inform U.S. of trash imports

Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Canada has not been notifying the Environmental Protection Agency of garbage shipments coming into the United States as required by a 10-year-old agreement, according to a report requested by Representative John Dingell.

The EPA would have 30 days after being notified of Canadian trash imports to object or place conditions on the shipment under the Agreement Between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States Concerning the Transboundary Movement of Hazardous Waste. Canada has the same authority over waste being imported from the United States.

The agreement was signed in Ottawa on Oct. 28, 1986, to establish procedures for the export of hazardous waste. It was amended in 1992 to include other municipal solid waste.

But the Canadian government has never notified the EPA of any garbage shipments and the United States has never protested, according to the Congressional Research Service, which investigated the agreement at Dingell's request.

"Ten years of neglect and noncompliance with this important bilateral agreement is outrageous," Dingell, (D-Dearborn), wrote in a letter to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman. "I call upon you to act immediately in the best interests of the citizens of Michigan and withhold consent for Canadian municipal solid waste unless the affected local governments and the governor approve."

EPA spokesman Dave Ryan said the agency was reviewing the issue but was not ready to respond. Dingell's staff did not know whether the United States has been in compliance with the agreement, or whether the United States has exported trash to Canada.

Michigan imported 3.6 million tonnes of trash last year, a 27 per cent increase over 2000, according to the DEQ figures. About half comes from Canada and the other half from other states.

Michigan will get even more trash from Canada next year as Toronto begins sending all of its garbage across the border. In 2003, about 137 garbage trucks a day will go through Southwestern Ontario on their way to Michigan. Now, 85 garbage trucks travel that route.

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