Thursday, August 24, 2006

HD94: Bob Blaine and Ken Horn Talk Trash... Literally.

Michigan has been vulnerable to Canadian and out-of-state trash for two reasons: we have a lot of landfills and it is very cheap to dump here. Unfortunately, the influx of garbage because of these two factors has a significant impact on our environment and the quality of life in our state. Nobody wants to live or work around a landfill, which makes Michigan a much less attractive place to call home and locate businesses in.

Due to the incentives for dumping in Michigan, over 400 Canadian garbage trucks come to our state every day. According to Clean Water Action Michigan, over one third of all of the trash dumped in Michigan comes from out-of-of state sources. Furthermore, Michigan actually subsidized a large increase in the amount of space for landfills, which has made these problems worse.

Ken Horn (R) and Bob Blaine (D), candidates for the 94th District seat in the MI House of Representatives, clashed for the second time since the primary over the Canadian / out-of-state trash issue on Tuesday. From today's Saginaw News article ("Horn attacks Blaine over import trash fees"):
Horn criticized Blaine, who lives in Swan Creek Township, for advocating a $7.50-a-ton surcharge on trash to clamp down on out-of-state trash flowing into Michigan. The state charges 21 cents a ton today.

"I don't think taxing us out of problems is going to be the answer," Horn said. He said the proposal amounts to a $200 million tax increase a year on Michiganians.

"The powerful waste industry has a good friend, and his name is Ken Horn," responded Blaine, who like Horn is a veteran member of the County Board of Commissioners.

"Ken Horn is trying to keep the Canadian and out-of-state dumpers' free ride going. The only way to stop Canadian trash is to attack the economics of the trash trade. Horn and the trash industry know why trash comes to Michigan, and that is because it is cheap." (emphasis added)

Blaine takes a sensible approach to this issue. By removing one of the incentives to dump here, we decrease the demand for Michigan landfills. Given that it costs $7.25 per ton in Pennsylvania and $3 per ton in Wisconsin, our 21 cent surcharge is pretty low.

Despite all of their rhetoric about Canadian trash, the MI GOP has been completely ineffective on this issue. They appear to be unwilling to address the underlying causes of this problem. The most recent GOP trash "plan" would only stop Canadian trash if Congress gave Michigan the authority to do so (hasn't happened), and completely fails to address out-of-state trash (source). In addition, the House Republicans have done nothing to stop the increase in landfills in Michigan. Neither of these actions address the incentives for dumping in Michigan.

Based on Horn's previous statements, ("Candidates take aim at Canadian trash issue," August 18 Saginaw News) he implies that he would fall in line with his party and not address the root causes of this issue. However, he does make a compelling point about trade agreements as they pertain to Canadian trash.
"We can't stop Canadian trash, but we can't pull in Canadian (prescription) drugs," Horn said. "There's something fundamentally wrong with the trade system that we have."

While we're on the subject of HD94 (my district), it is worth taking a look at this race. Bob Blaine is pro-life, pro-gun, and seems willing to work very hard to try and take this seat. From what I hear, he has a very impressive door-knocking operation and is serious about meeting and connecting with voters. The odds are against him -- my district has an over 50% Republican base and almost always leans very Republican, but he is the perfect kind of candidate to flip the district and turn out some extra voters for Granholm. If you're in the area, consider writing a letter to the editor to the Saginaw News on this issue or contact the Coordinated Campaign about volunteering.

Finally, no post is complete without some shameless self promotion!


At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ha ha. Congratulations, Mr. Volunteer of the Week.


At 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...





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