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TORONTO, Ont. — The U.S. Congress is being brought into the fight against the trucking of Toronto’s garbage to a Michigan landfill.

Democrat David Bonior’s bill would give counties in the state the right to say no to out-of-state trash and let the state reduce the amount of out-of-state waste that ends up on its turf.

Bonior has tried to put into place such a bill for 10 years but has failed repeatedly. However, Michigan environmentalists think he may have a better chance now.

“There is a possibility that this could pass – if there are some hearings that get to the point where there is some legitimate discussion on it,” says Jeff Surfus of NoWaste, a Michigan group.

The House Commerce Committee is the legislative body that would hear Bonior’s case. It’s not clear whether the bill would affect existing contracts, such as Toronto’s agreement with Republic Services, where the city’s garbage will be trucked to a landfill in the state for five years, Surfus explains.

That contract, which began Jan. 2, requires Toronto to send a further 285,000 tonnes to Carleton Farms next year, and a minimum of 100,000 tonnes a year from 2003 to 2005, when the contract is up for renewal.

This is the second bill to be introduced within a month that seeks to keep Toronto’s garbage out of Michigan landfill sites. Earlier in March, a state Democrat introduced a “bottle ban” bill in the Michigan legislature that would turn away trash that includes refundable cans, bottles, and containers.

Since the province doesn’t have a deposit program, Toronto’s garbage would probably hold many containers listed as illegal in the bill.

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