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US Congress moves to restrict trash imports from Ontario

WASHINGTON -- The US House of Representatives has moved to sharply restrict trash imports from Ontario despite Bush...


WASHINGTON — The US House of Representatives has moved to sharply restrict trash imports from Ontario despite Bush administration warnings that the bill could spark an unnecessary trade spat, according to a report by Canadian Press.

However, the legislation could face more uncertain prospects in the Senate, where two Michigan senators have already forged a deal with Ontario to phase out municipal waste imports by 2010. The House bill would empower states for the first time to limit how much waste they take from the north until the Environmental Protection Agency issues regulations.

Michigan, which gets about 400 trucks of southern Ontario trash a day, including from Toronto, has long complained about health problems, security dangers and road hazards, CP reported, and Michigan Republican member Candice Miller recently criticized Canada for using the state as its “own personal garbage can.”

The House passed a nearly identical bill last year but couldn’t muster Senate support. Instead, Democrat Carl Levin and Republican Debbie Stabenow brokered the Ontario deal, according to CP.

Meanwhile, the deal is having a positive effect north of the border, said Anne O’Hagan, spokesman for Ontario Environment Minister Laurel Broten, has said the deal has forced municipalities to face realities and set targets.” CP reported that Canada has argued that any legislation limiting waste breaks US obligations under the free-trade pact and World Trade Organization.

–with files from the Canadian Press


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