House Bill Would Let States Limit Interstate Waste Imports

Date: July 13, 2016

Source: Rep. Matt Cartwright

A Pennsylvania congressman has introduced legislation that would allow states to restrict interstate waste imports. The bill, H.R. 5656, would amend the Resource Conservation & Recovery Act (RCRA) to allow states to require that interstate waste come only from states "with equivalent or higher standards of waste handling and reduction." States could also impose higher fees on interstate waste imports, regardless of waste handling and reduction standards and differentiate the fees depending on whether the waste is disposed of at a landfill, resource recovery facility, waste-to-energy facility or other facility. The bill, which was introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) on July 7, has four co-sponsors, all Democrats, and is a companion to legislation introduced by Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) last year. Pennsylvania is by far the largest importer of waste and has employed various tactics over many years to attempt to stem the flow.

July 13, 2016

Rep. Cartwright Introduces Legislation to Help Communities and States Deal With Waste

Washington, DC Today, U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright introduced bicameral Trash Reduction and Sensible Handling (TRASH) Act, H.R. 5656, legislation that would allow states to determine waste entering into its borders.

U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-Penn.) has introduced companion legislation in the Senate.

"The importation of waste into Pennsylvania has posed significant problems for our communities," Rep. Cartwright stated. "Too many times, communities across the United States live in the shadow of trash, trash that often comes from hundreds of miles away. Our district has landfills reaching their holding capacity. This legislation gives states and communities a much needed voice. Also, we must strengthen and incentivize recycling, composting, and environmental standards. This legislation helps states and communities do just that."

Additionally, the TRASH Act allows states to restrict out-of-state waste coming into its state. Alternatively, the bill allows states to impose a community benefit fee, which a state can redirect toward communities affected by waste.

This legislation comes after the Keystone Sanitary Landfill has issued a proposal to remain open, increase the height of the site by 165 feet, and expand the size of the landfill overall. As many landfills and trash sites across the state and country are nearing capacity, the TRASH Act addresses an issue long overdue.

In the Pennsylvania 17th congressional district, six landfills have received out-of-state waste: Alliance Landfill in Taylor, Chrin Sanitary Landfill in Easton, Grand Central Sanitary Landfill in PenArgyl, Pine Grove Landfill in Pine Grove, Commonwealth Environmental Systems Landfill in Hegins, and the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore.

Representative Cartwright was joined by fellow Representatives Brady of Pennsylvania, Lowenthal of California, McNerney of California, and DeFazio of Oregon.

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