On Wednesday the State of Michigan’s House of Representatives approved legislation that would prohibit waste from Canada from being placed in state landfills once the U.S. federal government gives the state authority to ban foreign refuse. The chamber voted 105 to 3 to approve the main bill in the three-bill package. Only two Democrats voted against the bill but several said the legislation did not go far enough. They said the state should not wait for the U.S. government to ban foreign waste and that the measure limits only a portion of out-of-state waste because it doesn’t limit garbage coming in from other states. Democratic State Representative Kathleen Law failed to win support for an amendment that would have greatly increased the dumping fee on garbage if the U.S. Congress doesn’t allow state regulation of waste by November 1. Democrats said that only by making Michigan an expensive place to landfill waste will out-of-state garbage decrease.
Meanwhile, municipal waste managers in Ontario are deeply concerned that if and when the U.S. border closes to Canadian garbage exports, their valuable and diminshing landfills will be forced by potential provincial emergency legislation to accept some of the millions of tonnes of garbage currently exported — much of it from the Greater Toronto Area. They are making inquiries of the province about what it plans to do.