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What can we do about the problem?

Michigan Legislature

The Michigan Legislature is currently considering six bills addressing the import of solid wastes. Two bills, HB 4110 and SB 222, are toothless bills which state that Michigan has the right to stop out-of-state wastes if the U.S. Congress passes legislation empowering states to do this. Unless meaningful amendments are added to these bills, they essentially do nothing.

On the other hand, SB 146 and HB 4317at least give the state the power to stop waste from coming from states with less restrictive disposal standards than Michigan. For example, if a state allows used oil or batteries to be included in its waste stream, under this bill Michigan would be able to stop wastes from coming from that state because Michigan doesn't allow these wastes in its regular solid waste stream.

In addition, HB 4530 and SB 314 are disposal bans for beverage containers which are covered under Michigan's Bottle Bill. This would effectively reduce the amount of garbage coming in from out of state by causing the generating state to separate out these banned bottles and cans which take up a significant amount of volume in the waste.

ACTION: Contact your Michigan State Senator and urge him/her to support SB 146 and SB 314. Click here to find your State Senator. Contact your Michigan State Representative and urge him/her to support HB 4317 and 4530. Click here to find your State Representative.

US Congress

For there to be any real change in the situation, Congress must pass federal legislation giving states the power to control the import of wastes. The following bills have been introduced in the 107th Congress.

HOUSE

HR 1213 - sponsored by Rep. Jim Greenwood (PA), Rep. David Bonior (MI) and others. This is a good start on tackling the problem, but it needs revision through amendments offered by Rep. Jo Ann Davis (VA). For an analysis of this legislation, click here (Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Environmental Network).

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Most of all, educate yourself, your friends, and family about this situation. Unless there is a large public outcry, the situation is unlikely to change.

Check back regularly for more actions.

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