Less Canadian waste coming to Michigan- a good thing?

18 Jan 2011

photo courtesy of Ryan Garza, The Flint Journal

Senator Debbie Stabenow recently touted the fact that, effective January 1st, there was a drop in Canadian waste coming into Michigan because of an agreement she and Senator Carl Levin negotiated some years ago. 

However, this was never an environmental issue – this was a xenophobic political issue. Canadian trash is no different than Michigan trash and an MDEQ study showed that. So is the issue capacity? There is many years of capacity in this State due to both Canadian and Michigan recycling programs. Protecting “our” capacity? Well, the landfill in question is privately owned and the citizens of Michigan weren’t paying to reserve space. How can the Government tell a private business that it can’t sell its service to someone because of where they live?  Ultimately, the losers here are all the people employed by these various businesses in Michigan who have less to do.  Also, taxes paid by those people and tipping fees paid to local municipalities will be reduced.  Plus, a landfill’s costs are largely fixed and so the cost of disposal may very well go up for Michigan’s residents with no appreciable environmental benefit.   

This “win” smells.

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