DETROIT -- U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow said Wednesday that she's sponsoring a bill that would require trash haulers to pay $500 for each truckload of garbage they bring into Michigan from Canada.
The Lansing Democrat's goal is to make it too expensive to send trash across the border. Stabenow and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., worked to stop trash shipments from Ontario governments, but that represents only 40 percent of garbage entering the state from Canada.
The Stop Canadian Trash Act, announced during a news conference near the Brent Run landfill in Genesee County, is aimed at private, non-government sources of Ontario trash.
Brent Run is one of three Michigan landfills that account for 90 percent of the Canadian waste dumped in the state, according to the Department of Environmental Quality.
"Canadian trash poses serious health, safety and security threats to Michigan families and communities," Stabenow said in a statement. "Senator Levin and I were able to stop Ontario's city waste from being dumped in our backyard, but now it's time to stop the rest of the trash coming across the border."
Stabenow's bill would change the financial incentives that make it cheaper for Canadian companies to dump their waste in Michigan.
Currently, international trash trucks generally pay $5 to haul waste into the United States, and only 1 percent are randomly screened by U.S Customs and Border Protection.
The Stop Canadian Trash Act would require companies that ship waste from Canada to the U.S. to pay a $500 fee at the border to provide Homeland Security personnel the resources they need to inspect every trash truck.
The fee would be assessed on trucks carrying foreign trash handled or collected by any means from residential, commercial and industrial sources.
The "bill will have a real impact on the Brent Run landfill, where Canada is the leading contributor of trash," said Genesee County Commissioner Archie Bailey.
Michigan residents complain that trucks carrying Canadian garbage cause environmental and health problems, harm roads and create security risks because of the difficulty of screening trash for contraband.