Aug 19, 2009

Senate candidate dumps on Michigan

LANSING – Michigan House Democrats have been working for the last nine years or so to address the complaints of Michigan residents over out-of-state and Canadian trash filling up Michigan landfills, but one former state Representative who profited from it wants to join the Senate in blocking legislation addressing the problem.

Mike Nofs - the Republican candidate for the Michigan Senate’s 19th District - has been dumping on Michigan for years – all while making a profit and protecting the interests of the garbage industry at the expense of Michigan and its residents.

While serving as a Calhoun County Commissioner in the 1990s, Nofs pushed for the expansion of a garbage dump onto land he owned in Convis Township. Once the Commission approved the expansion, Nofs sold his property to BFI Waste Systems of North America for an undisclosed amount of money that he referred to as “higher than market value.” While he skipped town with his profits, his neighbors were left with a dump in their backyards which takes foreign garbage.

Nofs has also taken campaign contributions from the garbage industry and, as a state representative, he continually voted to allow foreign trash to be dumped into our communities.

Nofs is running against Rep. Martin Griffin, D-Jackson, for seat in the 19th District that represents Calhoun and Jackson counties that was vacated with the election of Sen. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek, to the U.S. House last November.

Canadian and out-of-state-trash from as far away as Florida makes up nearly a third of the trash dumped into our landfills. In addition to the capacity imported trash is eating up, it has also caused some much more serious problems that have cost taxpayers money. Trash haulers have brought in hazardous waste, radioactive material and raw sewage. Two garbage spills by out-of-state haulers in Wayne County’s Huron Township in 2006 cost taxpayers more than $200,000 to clean up.

One of the most effective ways to combat this problem is through economics, and having the lowest dumping fees in the Midwest has made Michigan a magnet for other people’s trash. A perfect example of what the Griffin and the House are trying to accomplish with the fee increase occurred in 2002 when Pennsylvania raised its fee from $3.25 a ton to $7.25 a ton and saw trash imports fall from an all-time high of 12.6 million tons to an annual decrease to a low of just 9.6 million tons in 2006; the first time in more than a decade imports fell to below the 10 million ton mark.

“Mike Nofs is not the type of person we need representing the 19th District,” said Michigan Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer. “Nofs has personally profited from garbage companies and time and time again has voted to protect the garbage industry and greedy corporations – putting them ahead of his constituents. Foreign trash is ruining the health and beauty of this great state and Mike Nofs is one of the reasons why.”

No comments: