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Canadian trash could cost millions (March 31, 2006)

TORONTO, Ont. -- The Ontario Trucking Association is urging the federal government to act quickly in preventing U.S...

TORONTO, Ont. — The Ontario Trucking Association is urging the federal government to act quickly in preventing U.S. authorities from imposing inspection fees on Canadian carriers hauling trash to U.S. landfill sites.

On March 19, a U.S. senate budget bill was passed that included a resolution intended to lay the groundwork for imposition of fees totaling up to US$45 million on Canadian trucking companies that haul trash to US landfill sites.

Michigan state officials have sought ban on Canadian trash in past years, but a recent report from two U.S. senators has increased the plight. The report released by Michigan Sen. Carl Levin and Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman recommends a trash ban due to inadequate screening posing security risks.

About 350 truckloads of Canadian trash enter Michigan daily, primarily at Detroit and Port Huron on their way to Michigan landfills. While all vehicles entering at the U.S. crossings pass through radiation detectors, containerized trash is too dense for the X-ray to penetrate, the report stated.

The budget bill still needs to pass through congress before becoming official.

“While the Ontario Trucking Association is aware that such a budget resolution does not carry the force of law at this time, such resolutions can and often do establish guidelines for appropriations bills that follow,” OTA President David Bradley wrote in a letter to Minister of International Trade David Emerson.

“While this resolution may be targeted at solid waste, the rationale and arguments used to justify it could be just as easily applied to any and all other commodities that Canada exports to the United States. OTA believes that the Government of Canada should take whatever appropriate action it can now to ensure that this resolution does not find its way into other appropriations bills and future laws. Not only would this impede the lawful shipment of municipal trash to the United States but it could also set a dangerous precedent for similar action against other Canadian commodities at some point in the future.”

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