July 18, 2006
Last week, the U.S. Senate approved two Homeland Security bills that would substantially hinder trash trucks entering the country from Canada. The first of the two bills introduced by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin of Michigan would charge trucks from north of the border an estimated $420 (U.S.) fee per truckload of solid waste, with the ultimate goal of curbing the 350 truckloads of Canadian waste that enter the country every day. Much of that waste is produced by the city of Toronto and winds up in Michigan landfills.
According to an Associated Press report, the second provision would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to review its screening process for municipal solid waste. A Department of Homeland Security report issued in March berated U.S. Customs for its lax inspections of incoming waste loads, resulting in the unhindered import of significant amounts of medical waste and illegal materials. Barring a major overhaul of the screening process, the bill would empower Homeland Security to eventually stop trash trucks from entering the U.S. altogether.
"In addition to improved screening of trash for security threats, the steep inspection fees are an important step toward making it unprofitable for Canada to dump its trash in Michigan," Stabenow said in a press release.
The measures now move on for consideration in the U.S. House of Representatives.