Currently, Michigan has the lowest landfill tax at $.21 per ton. This makes it incredibly affordable to truck in garbage from not only other states, but from Canada as well, to dump in landfills in Michigan. A recent study showed that medical waste, radioactive material, and other toxic items have made their way to Michigan landfills due to poor inspection processes in the city of Toronto (who dumped 3.6 million cubic yards of waste in Michigan landfills in 2003). Michigan is the number three importer of garbage, behind Virginia and Pennsylvania. It's so bad that New Jersey is shipping garbage to Michigan by rail car.
New Jersey, home of toxic waste, is shipping their waste to Michigan.
Not only does this bonanza of cheap dumping provide a means to pollute Michigan's groundwater, but it also causes a major homeland security issue, in that items which could be used to create a 'dirty bomb' could be smuggled across the Canadian border as well as drugs. In September of 2003, inspectors found one ton of marijuana hidden in a truck shipping garbage across the border. And they don't inspect every truck, so you have to wonder how many trucks made it through with items much more harmful than pot.
Now, the Democrats in the state house have proposed a $7.50/ton landfill tax. Not only will this help deter some of the out of state garbage currently going to our landfills, polluting our lakes and streams, but increase revenue for a budget that currently pretty out of whack.
Now, those of you who read this blog regularly, and who know me, are probably wondering "who the hell is this, and what did he do with Jeff?". But this is something that I find annoying as hell. I'm not a tree-hugger, but dammit, I live in one of the more beautiful states in the country (at least the rural areas are anyway), and I don't want these idiots who don't even live here, trashing it. I hunt and fish, and when I can't eat the fish I catch because they're so loaded with mercury due to poor landfill controls, that pisses me off. And when the governor says we're going to raise taxes on people who LIVE here to pay for services, while letting the people who don't get off with a free ride, that just infuriates me. So, for once, I'm siding with the Dems on this issue. I'll be firing off emails to my state legislators and encouraging those of you who live in Michigan to do the same.