Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:20:57 -0500

TO 3Rs Activists
FROM Bill Sheehan 8-7-96

Flow Control and Right-to-Say-No (Interstate Waste) legislation is
moving again in Congress! On July 26th, Sen. Dan Coats (R-IN)
attached the entire Senate bill passed last May to an appropriations
bill. The legislation has been stalled in the House.

Although a long shot, this could be an opportunity to get something
useful accomplished on these issues (or it could make things worse!).
The August recess is the time to contact our legislators and tell
them how these issues are important to us.

Both issues have profound implications for reduction, reuse and
recycling. I believe we should support the the right to say no to
unwanted, out-of-state waste, and should strongly limit flow control
(the legal authority of municipalities to direct discards to specific

The Right to Say No to out-of-state waste is both an environmental
justice issue (waste facilities usually don't go in fancy neighborhoods)
and is critical to developing 3Rs infrastructure. Why should
Wisconsin taxpayers, for example, bust their guts recycling if they are
forced to have the landfill space thus saved filled up with unwanted
out-of-state trash? WMX sued Wisconsin to precisely this result.
(Ideally, interstate provisions should apply to all wastes. The Senate
bill only addresses *municipal solid waste* but does require for the
first time an inventory of interstate hazardous waste transport.)

In the long run, Flow Control tends to lock up the discard supply in
expensive waste facilities, and to stymie the development of recycling
and reuse entrepreneurship. All legislation proposed so far has
exempted *voluntarily relinquished* recyclables. The problem is that
virtually all of the discard supply is potentially recyclable, and with
flow control this material tends to flow to wasteful facilities.

The Senate version of flow control is rather liberal; however,
it is rumored that a more restrictive House version, originally
introduced by Rep. Bliley, will be substituted. This would be good.

Copies of both the Senate bill and the Bliley amendment are available
on internet. Let me know if you want copies emailed.
Ask and ye shall receive.

Here are some details from news accounts:


July 26, 1996, Friday, BC Cycle

In a surprise move, the U.S. Senate voted to add flow control and
interstate waste provisions to a fiscal year 1997 funding bill for
federal energy and water programs.

The move, engineered by Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., is designed as an
end run around the House Commerce Committee, whose chairman,
Rep. Thomas Bliley, R-Va., declared that flow control legislation is
probably dead for the rest of 1996 after a narrow bill he backed failed
on the House floor this winter. [snip]

Shea said "momentum has been building" to get legislation through
Congress since New York Gov. George Pataki announced recently he
would close the Fresh Kills Landfill in New York earlier than planned,
in six years. That announcement shook midwestern states, which
worry that, without federal restrictions on movement of interstate
waste, residential New York City waste would end up in the
Midwest for processing.



Ellyn Ferguson; Gannett News Service, August 2, 1996

WASHINGTON -- Two House members said Friday they have
brokered a tentative agreement that keeps alive legislation to allow
Midwestern states to control the amount of garbage dumped there by
Eastern states.

They'll have to wait until September before they find out if the
agreement is solid. Lawmakers left this week for a month's break to
attend their presidential nominating conventions and take a summer

Reps. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., and Gerald Solomon, R-N.Y., cobbled out
a possible compromise that could improve the odds that Sen. Dan
Coats's amendment on solid waste will survive in a House-Senate
conference committee.

It remained unclear Friday night if two influential lawmakers --
Commerce Committee chairman Thomas Bliley, R-Va., and Energy
and Water subcommittee chairman John Myers, R-Ind. -- support the

Their proposal would modify the Coats amendment to take into
account New York City's need to move trash out once its major
landfill closes in 2000 and grandfather in so-called flow control laws
that allowed municipalities and waste authorities to direct trash to
specific facilities until the Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional
in 1994.

The ruling left municipalities, including those in the Northeast, in a
financial bind and with no guaranteed traffic to the sites.

The agreement, if it works out, would still give Midwest states
power to control the amount of trash coming across their borders but
still allow trash-exporting states to ship their household trash.

"I'm very pleased," said Buyer, whose 5th District receives 1 million
pounds of trash a year from out of state.

The Senate put the Coats amendment in its Energy and Water
spending bill last week. The House already had approved its version
of the bill without a trash provision.

The Senate amendment faced several obstacles in the House because
the trash issue is a contentious one that has divided lawmakers along
regional lines.

With no agreement, Coats's amendment can be deleted in
conference as being non-germane because it is a legislative measure
attached to a spending bill.

Solomon, chairman of the House Rules Committee, has the power to
issue a waiver of germaness that would improve the chances of the
amendment being included in the final Energy and Water bill.

Solomon had threatened to oppose the amendment unless it is
modified to allow New York City to send sufficient amounts of trash
out of state once its Staten Island landfill closes.

Solomon said the agreement is complex and still has details to be
worked out. He commended Coats for his legislation.

Buyer said he'll know in a few weeks if the arrangement is agreeable
to all parties involved. He is encouraged because he has been told
House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., is "intrigued" by the proposal.