Environmentalists are applauding a plan originated by Gov. Rick Snyder to increase state fees charged for household waste disposal and use those revenues to clean up thousands of sites contaminated by toxic waste.
Legislation introduced by state Sen. Mike Nofs, a Battle Creek Republican, calls for boosting the state fee from 36 cents per ton, which is far below the rate in most states, to $4.44 per ton. Michigan would still have the lowest “tipping fee,” which is charged to waste hauling trucks entering landfills, in the Midwest.
While the proposal represents a 12-fold increase in the surcharge it would raise the overall cost Michiganders pay annually for collecting and disposing of solid waste by just 7.4 percent.
The $74 million generated each year under the Senate bill would help clean up more than 3,000 contaminated sites that consist of old dumps, closed landfills and abandoned industrial property. It would also contribute about $15 million a year to improve the state’s recycling efforts, which rank among the worst in the nation.
“Governor Snyder’s persistent leadership on these issues cannot be overstated. His recycling initiative and commitment to sustainable economic development for all Michigan communities and business has led us here,” said Michigan Recycling Coalition executive director, Kerrin O’Brien.
Michigan voters adopted a bonding issue in 1998 to clean up toxic chemicals but when that initiative ended, a huge backlog of sites remained. According to the Michigan Environmental Council, the bill reflects the governor’s goal of “ensuring that we no longer bond to clean up our past mistakes, which only puts the bill on our children and grandchildren.”