Upholding Michigan’s New Trash Disposal Laws
August 1, 2004
Michigan has become a dumping ground for trash from all over the Midwest, Northeast, and even Canada. In 2001 alone, over 18 million tons of garbage was imported into the state, representing an increase of 27% over three years. This influx of trash into Michigan has caused predictable damage to the state’s environment, including air pollution from garbage dumps and trucks and water pollution from leaks at landfills. To make matters worse, these problems have primarily fallen on the low-income neighborhoods where new landfills are typically constructed. In response to these growing problems, the Michigan legislature earlier this year worked to pass a series of new laws intended to reduce these impacts by banning new landfills for two years, requiring regulatory standards, and establishing a framework to make sure all standards are met. Now, the garbage industry has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn these important new laws. Sierra Club recently joined the lawsuit to defend the state’s new laws and help ensure that the local communities do not have to bear the brunt of environmental harm.
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