Thanks to the Ontario Waste Management Association (www.owma.org) I’m able to offer the following analysis of an emerging situation with respect to waste exports across the Ontario-Michigan border. This is a situation not only of interest to haulers in the waste industry but also to companies whose solid waste is shipped south of the border.
Here’s what OWMA wrote in a recent email to members:
It appears Canadian waste remains an issue in Michigan as we move towards Senate elections in 2012.
Despite the successful agreement between Michigan and Ontario to end the shipments of Ontario municipal wastes to Michigan by 2011, Senator Stabenow has introduced legislation called the “Stop Canadian Trash Act.” It proposes to charge a $500 fee for every truck hauling waste into the U.S. to cover the cost of inspections by Homeland Security. Stabenow argues it is an issue of national security and points out that only one percent of international waste vehicle are screened for radiation. The new law would require all vehicles be inspected and impose a $10,000 penalty each time an importer failed to provide to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection information relating to the volume and contents of each vehicle.
This proposal would likely violate the North American Free Trade Agreement and be challenged.
Senator Levin has also introduced a bill aimed at guaranteeing the efficacy of equipment and procedures employed by the Homeland Security Department’s Customs and Border Protection (CBP) branch for identifying chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons in “municipal solid waste.”
The bill would require a CBP report to Congress on whether its measures are as effective as the methodologies and technologies used by the bureau to screen for those materials in other items of commerce entering the U.S. through commercial motor vehicle transport. If the Bureau of Customs cannot demonstrate that screening of municipal waste shipments is adequate, then they have six months to implement the technologies to meet adequate screening procedures. If such measures are not implemented, then the secretary of Homeland Security shall deny entry of any commercial motor vehicle carrying municipal solid waste from Canada until the secretary certifies that the methods and technology used to inspect the waste vehicles are as effective as the methods and technology used to inspect other vehicles.
We have reached out to NSWMA and to Senator Levin’s Office and will keep members updated as to future developments.