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July 09, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1997-07-09

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4 - The Michigan, Daily - Wednesday, July 9, 1997
Edited and managed by ERIN MARSH JACK SCHILLACI
students at the Editor in Chief Editorial Page Editor
44 a - University of Michigan/i
le wt at Unless other-wise noted. imsrgned editorials reflect the op>inion f
420 Maynard Street marOjoril < /the Dail s' editorialhoardl l .ll oirer articlesll titers
Ann Arbor, MI 48109 (/1(011aoons 1 inotiecessairifle/i1the opinion of The Misliiganail

U nless the U.S. Congress and the
Michigan legislature pass legislation
quickly, Ann Arbor may find itself awash
with international sludge. Beginning next
year, the city of Toronto will ship 250,000
to 500,000 cubic yards of trash per year for
burial in Browning Ferris Industries' Arbor
Hills landfill, located in Ann Arbor. The
Windsor City Council recently voted to
transport the city's solid biowaste to Ann
Arbor, if it could work out a deal with
Arbor Hills. Under current federal law, the
city cannot stop the landfill from accept-
ing foreign garbage - a dilemma that
needs to be rectified immediately to pre-
vent pollutants from entering the area.
Ann Arbor and area residents, quite
naturally, are raising a stink about the
proposed garbage transfers. A group
called the Toronto Trash Campaign sent
3,000 letters of protest to the Ontario
provincial government. The group also
lobbied on behalf of U.S. House Bill
1346, a measure co-sponsored by Rep.
John Dingell (D-Dearborn) and Rep.

Garae scout
Congress, state must block waste dumping

Lynn Rivers (D-Ann Arbor). The bill
seeks to remove a serious impediment to
state and local governments' abilities to
regulate garbage within their jurisdic-
tions. Under current federal law, only
Congress may regulate the interstate or
international commerce of garbage.
Unless the bill passes, Ann Arbor and
Lansing are helpless to stop Arbor Hills
from importing Toronto and Windsor's
waste. Congress must act quickly to pass
the bill and return autonomy over
garbage to people living in the affected
Should Congress pass the bill, the state
is already working on a measure to reduce
importation of international sludge. State
Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Salem)
added an amendment to the state's waste

regulation bill that would require states
sending trash to Michigan to follow the
same guidelines as in-state garbage. Trash
from Ohio, Indiana and Illinois - states
that allow motor oil and automobile bat-
teries in their garbage, items banned from
the Michigan trash heap - would no
longer be eligible for transport into
Michigan. Ironically, Ontario's trash
would be eligible under Smith's amend-
ment if it were not banned under the orig-
inal bill - the province follows the same
sanitary guidelines as Michigan.
The state legislature has already begun
work on bills to reduce the number of
places that incoming garbage can go. One
such measure, advanced by Rep. Liz
Brater (D-Ann Arbor), would impose a
five-year moratorium on building new

landfills in Michigan. The state current
has enough landfill space to handle i
own garbage for 15-20 years. Another bil
introduced before Brater's, seeks to eat
restrictions on landfill building. If passe
the bill would make Michigan even
attractive to neighboring states
provinces seeking to unload some exti
trash. Brater's bill wisely attempts I
reverse that trend.
Waste haulers enjoy enormous auton
my under current federal laws, a situatio
that often works against the best intere:
of residents near landfills. It's time f
local government and residents to :
given a say on the type and amounts
garbage being brought into their commi
nities and neighborhoods. Cong
should pass Rivers' bill, allowing loc
interests control over the importation
trash. In turn, state representatives mu
act to stop the flow of garbage in
Michigan from other states and countrie
Michigan must not become the midwest
favorite dumping ground.

Far from home
Homeless shelter will benefit county
T hrough summer's heat and winter's tal health programs are among the shelter's
cold, Ann Arbor's homeless population services - providing important assistance
seek salvage from the streets and extreme that homeless residents cannot get else-
weather in shelters. The city's homeless sit- where.
uation is severe and deserves attention While the new shelter will provide long-
from city and county authorities. Currently term housing, the commissioners stated
existing downtown shelters suffer from intentions for present shelters run by the
extreme budget gaps that could force them Shelter Association of Washtenaw County
to limit or discontinue the services they to provide emergency and short-term ser-
provide. Last week, the Washtenaw County vices. The association's budget dictates oth-
Commissioners voted to create a new erwise - a $146,000 gap could force the
homeless shelter in Pittsfield Township. association to close shelters during the
The new shelter will provide many home- summer to allow them to be available dur-
less residents with necessary services to ing the cold winter months. The county
keep afloat - it is a move in the right should attempt to facilitate continuing ser-
direction for the county. vices by providing supplemental funding to
The county will construct the new shel- the association.
ter on the corner of Ellsworth Road and The commission's decision met with
Stone School Road. The bed space in the significant opposition.-More than 900 res-
city's currently existing shelters is insuffi- idents from the Ellsworth area signed a
cient to cope with the significant homeless petition against the shelter's construction,
population - the new shelter will help threatening a lawsuit against the county.
supplement available space and reduce the The residents do not want the homeless
number of residents forced out into the "in their backyard"- a selfish stance that
street. The Ann Arbor City Council tenta- could prevent the reduction of a signifi-
tively agreed to pay for one-third of the cant social problem.
shelter's construction. The city will receive The commission's vote was 10-4 follow-
significant benefits of the new shelter --it ing political party lines with one commis-
should support it financially. sioner absent, barely achieving the two-
The shelter's significant distance from thirds majority required to initiate the pro-
downtown Ann Arbor - where the major- ject. Republicans stated their belief at pre-
ity of the city's homeless reside - could vious commission meetings that tax dollars
prevent maximum utilization of its facili- should go to provide county services - not
ties. Commissioner David Monfronton to house the homeless. The county must
(D-Ann Arbor) stated that there were sev- commit itself to helping all residents,
eral problems to solve before construction whether or not they are homeless.
begins next spring, including transporta- The commission's initiative will con-
tion for shelter users. Since most homeless tribute greatly to solving the county's
residents will be incapable of transporting homeless problem - however, it must
themselves to the shelter, the county ensure that present shelters remain opera-
should provide busing. The commission tional and residents' opposition to the
should also ensure that physical and men- shelter does not come to fruition.

Footing the bill
Federal health care helps children
or many parents whose children must Congressional Budget Office release
make costly hospital visits without estimates that Congress's bills may n
insurance coverage, two bills in the U.S. reach as many children as it intende
Congress could provide much-needed The estimates indicated that many chi
relief. Last week, the House and Senate dren covered under the plans woul
passed bills to establish a federally funded already have health-care insurance fro
children's health-insurance program. With other sources. Congress should maa
the number of employers providing insur- closer examination of its bills to pre e
ance as part of work compensation drop- double coverage and ensure that th
ping, large numbers of children grow up greatest number of children possible g
without sufficient access to health care. In support. The Senate bill provides an add
reconciling the differences between the tional $8 billion gathered from tobacc
two versions of the bill, Congress should taxes - a good idea that will give mo
ensure that children grow up with the children access to health care and facil
health care they need. ties.
Congress and President Clinton ear- Budget Office officials stated that t
marked $16 billion to establish a national House bill, in particular, offered slt
children's health-insurance program as too much control over the funds.
part of the national budget. Both the House's measure made no provision f
House and the Senate bills create a system what type of coverage children woul
to direct the funds' use. The two houses receive with the federal funds - allo
are now in deliberation over the two bills ing states to decide what aid they wi
to create a final version that both legisla- give. States could potentially use th
tive bodies will pass. funds to compensate for a decrease i
According to a 1995 survey, 9.8 mil- Medicaid funding. Congress should nc
lion minors are without basic health insur- blindly dole out block grants and allo
ance. Such staggering numbers force the states to sweat the details - instead,
issue of what to do when uninsured chil- should provide a comprehensive defin
dren need medical attention - without a tion of what type of coverage the fe*a
means to pay bills, parents may have to funds will provide and ensure that the
forgo a trip to the doctor's office until the are spent to that end.
situation becomes dire. Health Clinton's initial campaign promise o
Maintenance Organizations help put universal health care for all American
health care within more people's reach - met great resistance in Congress - nox
with a little assistance from the govern- there is an opportunity to guarantee that a
ment, many children not presently cov- least children will receive help. Howevet
ered could get the medical attention they the legislature should create standards t
need. Congress should enact a federal ensure that coverage is the same across th
children's health-insurance program to country. Legislators on Capitol Hill slal1
keep children healthy throughout vital work to make a trip to the doctor feab
formative years. for all children -not just the economical
Last week, the nonpartisan ly privileged.

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