OTA urges Feds to fight U.S. waste bill

TORONTO – Protectionist U.S. states shouldn’t be allowed to intervene in international trade matters, and the Ontario Trucking Association wants the federal government to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

OTA is opposing U.S. House Bill 2491, which would authorize Michigan to restrict foreign solid waste from crossing the border and implement the agreement concerning the transboundary movement of hazardous waste between the U.S. and Canada.

The trucking group is concerned the bill would set a dangerous precedent, and have a negative impact on cross-border truckers’ ability to conduct international commerce, says OTA president David Bradley.

“The U.S. tolerance of individual states intervening in federally regulated matters has already resulted in the contravention of federal tax treaties by some states; for example Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan and New Jersey have already taken an aggressive approach in the collection of local income/franchise taxes despite carriers not having terminals located in the U.S.,” Bradley says.

He says Bill 2491 represents a threat to all Canadian business and is a piece of legislation that Canadian governments, and the federal government in particular, should frown upon as a threat to all commodities involved in U.S.-Canada trade, Bradley added.

OTA is requesting that the Ontario Ministry of Environment involve the association in any long-term strategy to deal with municipal and private sector waste, as the passage of Bill 2491 could significantly disrupt the capital equipment and labour plans of Ontario carriers currently hauling waste into Michigan.

Hundreds of trucks travel west on Hwy. 401 each day carrying Toronto waste to landfill sites in Michigan.

The OTA is also urging the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) to discuss long term waste management and plans for a future landfill site.

“Bill 2491 has acted as a signal to the trucking industry to become more involved in the provincial planning process of handling municipal and private waste,” wrote Bradley in a letter to AMO Executive Director Pat Vanini. “The bill has not been passed as yet. But if and or when it is, OTA wants Ontario municipalities and Ontario, to be ready,” Bradley says.

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