Pyrrhic Victory for Michigan - Canadian Waste Haulers Will Have to Pay

Date: July 13, 2006

Source: Senator Debbie Stabenow

Stabenow Scores Victory on Canadian Trash

Homeland Security funding bill includes Stabenow provision to impose inspection fees for Canadian trash trucks entering Michigan

WASHINGTON-U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) today said that the Senate has unanimously approved her legislation directing U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to charge fees of approximately $420 per trash truck to Canadian companies dumping waste in Michigan. The fees will pay for comprehensive security inspections at the border. The provision, cosponsored by U.S. Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), was included as part of the fiscal year 2007 Homeland Security appropriations bill.

"This is a major victory for Michigan, and our message is loud and clear," Stabenow said. "Until the Administration uses its authority to stop the trash completely, it should be the Canadian trash haulers, not American taxpayers, footing the bill for these inspections."

"These shipments are more than a nuisance- they are a threat to our environment, our health and our security," said Levin. "Senator Stabenow's leadership has been instrumental in the push for a fee that would discourage these shipments and the problems they present. This is a significant step towards improving our security and protecting Michigan's landfills from being filled with Canadian trash."

Every day, more than 350 trash trucks cross the border from Canada on their way to Michigan landfills. The Department of Homeland Security reports that it will take four U.S. Customs agents four hours to physically inspect a single trash truck. In recent years, inspections have turned up hazardous medical waste, radioactive materials, illegal drugs and counterfeit money. Because the screening of Canadian trash trucks is so inadequate, the trucks are an attractive target for terrorists and other criminals.
In addition to improved screening of trash for security threats, the steep inspection fees in the Stabenow amendment are an important step toward making it unprofitable for Canada to dump its trash in Michigan.

Stabenow successfully laid the groundwork to charge inspection fees with an amendment to the Senate Budget Resolution earlier this year. On March 30, 2006, the Committee on Homeland Security's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on which Levin is the ranking Democrat, released a report calling on Congress to enact the fees proposed by the Stabenow amendment to pay for more rigorous inspection of international trash shipments. Levin has led the effort to implement the other recommendations of the Subcommittee report.

Levin Press Office: 202-228-3685
Stabenow Press Office: 202-224-4822

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