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  • WasteWatch
    and reduction have not been sufficient to curb the ever increasing need to build more landfills and incinerators Bucks County Pennsylvania is a good example of failed policies and enforcement by both federal and state authorities Bucks County disposes of approximately 2 000 tons of county waste daily Waste Management WMX is permitted by PA s Department of Environmental Protection DEP to dispose of 20 000 tons of waste each day in Bucks County Federal law requires that states must have a state solid waste management plan to ensure maximum recycling and resource conservation and to assess environmental impact of waste disposal facilities Pennsylvania has no such state plan yet the Environmental Protection Agency EPA allows the state to continue accepting waste and issuing permits for more disposal facilities Currently Pennsylvania is the leading importer of foreign and domestic waste in the nation Many states complain that waste imports undercut their efforts at waste reduction and recycling For the last several years states have looked to proposed federal legislation that promises states protection from imports This proposed legislation will not protect states for three reasons The proposed legislation only applies to unwanted waste A state cannot prohibit a municipality from accepting waste if an agreement is reached between the host municipality and a waste disposal company This invites the waste industry to shop for disadvantaged communities who may want the host fees to offset tax increases or can t afford to defend themselves against well funded waste industry legal action There is no limit on other types of disposal waste that can be imported from other states or nations Only municipal waste will be affected by this legislation That may account for as little as 20 of all waste disposed in a state This legislation will encourage the importation of more toxic waste such as hazardous industrial infectious asbestos sewage sludge contaminated soil and incinerator ash Much of this waste is allowed in municipal landfills as well as in private and commercial landfills and incinerators A Zero Waste Plan for the Future So what s the answer In the absence of Congressional action or federal enforcement of current environmental law how do states eliminate waste and protect themselves from waste imports First states can issue waste disposal bans for both in state and imported waste They can begin by banning compostables such as food and yard waste A general rule is that waste must be free from hazardous materials in order to be composted or recycled safely Second states can legislate a variety of measures to sustain recycling markets They can set minimum recycled content standards and establish bottle bills and other take back legislation With markets guaranteed recyclables can be banned for disposal Lastly states should store hazardous waste until it can be safely recycled Never bury or burn waste In order to withstand legal challenge by waste importers states must apply disposal bans equally to both in state and out of state waste In the City of Philadelphia

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/WasteWatch.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • Environmental Litigation
    also protect its environment through mechanisms such as Waste Disposal Bans as long as these mechanisms are applied in a non discriminatory manner And it may be assumed as well that New Jersey may pursue those ends by slowing the flow of all waste into the State s remaining landfills even though interstate commerce may incidentally be affected But whatever New Jersey s ultimate purpose it may not be accomplished by discriminating against 437 U S 617 627 articles of commerce coming from outside the State unless there is some reason apart from their origin to treat them differently Both on its face and in its plain effect ch 363 violates this principle of nondiscrimination In a related case National Solid Waste Association v Meyer representing Wisconsin Federal Court of Appeal 7th Circuit Nos 94 4006 95 1058 Aug 1995 the court clearly suggests that states could protect their environment through the use of disposal bans although the court did not use the specific term disposal ban The solid waste legislation itself makes clear that there is an available less discriminatory alternative that could serve the State s purpose just as well as the re requirement that the entire community follow the dictates of Wisconsin s plan Specifically the Wisconsin statute makes clear that if the waste is processed by a materials recovery facility that separates the eleven listed materials the waste will conform to the environmental needs of Wisconsin Accordingly Wisconsin could realize its goals of conserving landfill space and protecting the environment by mandating that all waste entering the State first be treated at a materials recovery facility with the capacity to effect this separation Given the existence of such a nondiscriminatory alternative that serves adequately Wisconsin s legitimate concerns the discriminatory legislation cannot be justified Interestingly Chief Justice Rehnquist considered a staunch conservative gave the dissenting opinion stated in City of Philadelphia v New Jersey that waste is not a commodity and should not receive protection under the Commerce Clause In my opinion these cases are dispositive of the present one Under them New Jersey may require germ infected rags or diseased meat to be disposed of as best as possible within the State but at the same time prohibit the importation of such items for disposal at the facilities that are set up within New Jersey for disposal of such material generated within the State The physical fact of life that New Jersey must somehow dispose of its own noxious items does not mean that it must serve as a depository for those of every other State Similarly New Jersey should be free under our past precedents to prohibit the importation of solid waste because of the health and safety problems that such waste poses to its citizens The fact that New Jersey continues to and indeed must continue to dispose of its own solid waste does not mean that New Jersey may not prohibit the importation of even more solid waste into the State I

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/EnviroLitigation.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • WASTE LEGISLATION
    and or economic persuasion from the waste industry It does not limit the total amount of trash that can be imported from other states or nations It only applies to municipal landfills It does not apply to other commercial or private waste landfills and incinerators including cement kilns that may accept wastes such as hazardous radioactive residual industrial medical infectious or other types of waste It only applies to household type wastes Other types of more hazardous waste that are disposed in municipal landfills will remain unaffected such as sewage sludge medical waste incinerator ash asbestos contaminated soil and construction debris industrial and hazardous waste Search THOMAS for waste recycling etc or other federal legislation under search by word or phrase Call Congress Desk for copies of acts bills passed by Congress before 1989 or otherwise unavailable 202 512 1808 1999 HOUSE SENATE LEGISLATION search THOMAS for exact legislation INTERSTATE WASTE LEGISLATION HR 1190 IH 106th CONGRESS 1st Session H R 1190 To impose certain limitations on the receipt of out of State municipal solid waste to authorize State and local controls over the flow of municipal solid waste and for other purposes IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES March 18 1999 Mr GREENWOOD and others introduced the following bill which was referred to the Committee on Commerce S 663 IS 106th CONGRESS 1st Session S 663 To impose certain limitations on the receipt of out of State municipal solid waste to authorize State and local controls over the flow of municipal solid waste and for other purposes IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES March 18 1999 Mr SPECTER introduced the following bill which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Environment and Public Works This legislation appears to be limited to a more even distribution of waste

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/WasteLegislation.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS:
    Magazine Discover Magazine New Scientist Earth Times Magazine Directory Health Environment AJR INTERNET Check news groups such as talk environment Enviro Media outlets Society of Environmental Journalists TIPSHEET Yahoo Environment News compilation Reuters Planet Ark Environmental News Service ENS BBC Environmental News MSNBC environment news Environmental Media Services EMS World Environment News Capitol Reports grist magazine environmental news and humor AlterNet United Press International RedFlagsWeekly ECOMALL S News Directory RADIO

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/EnviroNews.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • ZWA NEWS
    to 390 million tons in 1999 nearly a 50 million ton increase in two years according to Biocycle magazine an industry publication According to a 1988 report to Congress by EPA municipal waste may be only 2 of all waste generated Currently municipal waste recycling rates are 28 30 More alarming is the amount of foreign waste that may be entering the United States According to data in Biocycle since 1997 the 50 states and Washington D C imported 48 millions tons more waste than they exported Activists point to three causes for increased waste generation 1 EPA s refusal to enforce The Solid Waste Disposal Act 1976 2 unregulated foreign waste imports and 3 a U S population that is growing an average of 2 5 million people annually They specifically accuse the EPA of non enforcement of state plan requirements of The Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1976 which required states to develop and implement state plans that maximize waste reduction and recycling by 1980 Most states ignored the Act and implemented voluntary recycling programs instead The United States is sinking under a tidal wave of waste while the EPA stands by and refuses to enforce the law

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/ZWAnewsNov15.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • HEARING ON YARD WASTE  July 12
    containers Compost programs are appropriate for yard food and other organic wastes Minimum content laws for paper glass metal and other waste streams can help guarantee markets for recyclables Another advantage of disposal bans is that they would be fairly easy to enforce Current recycling goals on individual waste streams do not prevent their eventual disposal and are nearly impossible to enforce by authorities checking trash truck loads WASTE IMPORTS The interstate transportation of waste has been particularly tragic for Pennsylvania For the last several years Pennsylvania has led the nation as the largest importer of waste by far in 1999 generating about 10 millions tons of municipal waste and importing around 8 million tons Pennsylvania will very soon be importing as much waste as the state creates and to date no plan has been developed that will prevent the situation from worsening Pennsylvania s current recycling rate of 26 and goal of 35 will do nothing to stem the tide of imported trash washing over our landscape There are three issues I would like to address on the subject of waste imports 1 The proposed federal legislation to control interstate waste and 2 The enforcement of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1976 and 3 Federal court decisions on the interstate transportation of waste 1 The proposed federal legislation to control interstate waste Very briefly most of the proposed Federal Interstate Waste legislation that has been languishing in Congress for the last several years will not protect any state from waste imports The legislation s biggest flaw is that it only applies to unwanted municipal waste Local community Host Agreements can supersede any action taken by a state to limit waste imports That could leave economically disadvantaged communities vulnerable to legal and or economic persuasion from the waste industry Furthermore it does not limit the total amount of trash that can be imported from other states or nations Lastly it only applies to municipal wastes and municipal landfills but not all types of waste that can be disposed in municipal landfills It is also questionable whether the proposed legislation if passed would be constitutional In any event it appears unlikely to pass since the exporting states see no advantage in this law for themselves 2 The enforcement of the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1976 Pennsylvania would not be in the position of the nation s leading importer of waste if the U S Environmental Protection Agency EPA was enforcing The Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1976 The Act requires that states develop and implement state plans that will maximize waste reduction and recycling This should have gone a long way toward reducing waste disposal in most states and as a consequence waste exports would have been minimal However the states have not complied with the Act and the EPA is not enforcing it Instead many states have done what Pennsylvania did with Act 101 that is to establish goals and policies that were packed with good intentions but

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/YardWasteHearingPA.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • HB2101
    waste reduction and recycling and ends waste disposal Maybe some day soon lawsuits will be filed to compel the EPA to develop and implement such a plan But until then the states are on their own This is Pennsylvania s chance to tell other states and countries that we re not going to keeping taking their trash Please call or write you representative now If your representative says that he will or won t support the HB 2101 please send that information back to me Thank you Lynn Landes Founder and Director www ZeroWasteAmerica org 215 629 3553 lynnlandes earthlink net Below is a letter that was sent by ZWA to every member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives Dear Pennsylvania Legislator Thank you if you already support HB 2101 With the passage of a Yard Waste Disposal Ban Pennsylvania can take a meaningful step toward curbing waste imports and extending landfill capacity The federal courts have clearly indicated that states can control imports through waste disposal restrictions such as waste disposal bans For disposal bans to be effective they must be comprehensive and apply equally to both in state and out of state waste The more disposal bans the Pennsylvania legislature passes the less attractive Pennsylvania will be as a depository for waste imports The proposed federal legislation of the last several years will not protect states from waste imports because it gives local communities the ability to sign contracts with waste companies effectively over riding any state action to curb imports No hard statistics on yard waste disposal in Pennsylvania are available from the PA Department of Environmental Protection DEP although the DEP reported that in 1997 312 560 tons of yard waste was collected for composting The EPA reports that yard waste generation accounts for approximately 13

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/HB2101.htm (2016-04-25)
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  • PENNSYLVANIA DEPARTEMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
    and limited the size of Virginia s largest landfills discriminated against interstate commerce in violation of the U S Constitution s implied protection against States interfering with interstate commerce Judge Spencer held that the new laws were unconstitutionally tainted by Virginia s publicly announced intentions of reducing waste imports through this legislation The new laws were slated to take effect July 1st Three of the challenged provisions concerned river transportation of municipal waste One would have prohibited barge transportation of municipal waste on the Rappahannock James and York rivers Virtually no Virginia waste was transported on these rivers and large quantities of New York waste are transported on the James A related provision would have prevented transportation of municipal waste on any Virginia river until certain regulations were written The judge held that the purpose and effect of these provisions were discriminatory as they would have had a profound effect on the importation of waste and almost no effect on waste generated within Virginia A third provision limited the stacking height of waste containers on river barges to less than half of the alleged industry standard The judge felt that this provision was designed to make river transport economically unfeasible

    Original URL path: http://zerowasteamerica.org/PADEP.HTM (2016-04-25)
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