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[GreenYes] HRC defends NYC trash exports
Senators Discuss Out-of-State Waste

By MALIA RULON
.c The Associated Press

  
WASHINGTON (AP) - Senators talked trash Wednesday as they discussed 
whether Congress needs to intervene to curb increases in garbage being 
shipped across state lines. 

From 1993 to 2000, out-of-state waste imports climbed from 14.5 million 
tons to 32 million tons a year, according to the Congressional Research 
Service. 

"Because it is cheap and because it is expedient, communities in many 
states have simply put their garbage on trains, trucks or barges and 
shipped it to whatever facility in whatever state," Sen. George 
Voinovich, R-Ohio, told the Senate Environmental and Public Works 
Committee. 

Federal courts have ruled only Congress can regulate the flow of garbage 
because it is a type of interstate commerce. Voinovich introduced 
legislation this week that would allow states and municipalities to 
freeze waste imports at 1993 levels and set limits on how much imported 
waste a landfill could receive. 

Ohio is among the top importers of solid waste, along with Pennsylvania, 
Virginia, Michigan and Indiana. Officials from those states say their 
residents pay higher taxes and environmental cleanup fees because of the 
imported garbage. 

David Hess, secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental 
Protection, said as long as states can export unlimited amounts of trash, 
there is no incentive for them to come up with a responsible way to deal 
with it themselves. 

Lawmakers from states doing most of the trash exporting pointed out that 
many communities want the imported garbage because it helps local 
economies. 

"We do not export to any community without a host community agreement," 
said Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. 

New York is the largest exporter of trash since New York City recently 
closed its last remaining municipal landfill. Other large exporters are 
New Jersey, Illinois, Missouri and Maryland. 

Bruce Parker, president and CEO of the National Solid Waste Management 
Association, told lawmakers that shipping trash is "a normal and 
necessary part of an environmentally protective and cost-effective solid 
waste management system."


On the Net: Senate Environment and Public Works Committee: 
http://epw.senate.gov/ 

National Solid Wastes Management Association: http://www.nswma.org/ 

AP-NY-03-20-02 1628EST

Copyright 2002 The Associated Press.
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