PDF _ RL34043 - Interstate Shipment of Municipal Solid Waste: 2007 Update
13-Jun-2007; James E. McCarthy; 30 p.

Abstract: This report, which replaces a 2004 report on the same subject (CRS Report RL32570), provides updated information on interstate shipment of municipal solid waste (MSW). Since the late 1980s, Congress has considered, but not enacted, numerous bills that would allow states to impose restrictions on interstate waste shipments, a step the Constitution prohibits in the absence of congressional authorization. Over this period, there has been a continuing interest in knowing how much waste is being shipped across state lines for disposal, and what states might be affected by proposed legislation. This report provides data useful in addressing these questions. It generally presents data as of 2005.

Total interstate waste shipments continue to rise due to the closure of older local landfills and the consolidation of the waste management industry. More than 42 million tons of municipal solid waste crossed state lines for disposal in 2005, an increase of 8% over 2003. Waste imports have grown significantly since CRS began tracking them in the early 1990s, and now represent 25.3% of the municipal solid waste disposed at landfills and waste combustion facilities. In the last 10 years, reported imports have increased 147%.

Pennsylvania remains the largest waste importer. The state received more than 7.9 million tons of MSW and 1.7 million tons of other non-hazardous waste from out of state in 2005. Most of this waste came from New Jersey and New York. Pennsylvania’s waste imports represented 19% of the national total. Virginia and Michigan, the second and third largest importers, received 5.7 million tons and 5.4 million tons from out of state respectively in 2005, each of them about 30% less than the amount received by Pennsylvania.

With the exception of Pennsylvania, each of the 15 largest importers showed an increase in waste imports, compared to our last survey, which provided data as of 2003. Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin showed particularly large increases, with Ohio, New York, Oregon, and Georgia also increasing substantially. In each of these states, waste imports increased by 300,000 tons or more, in some cases substantially more. In all, 30 states had increased imports in the current report, and 11 states reported imports that exceeded 1 million tons.

While waste imports increased overall, Pennsylvania, the leading importer, reported a sharp decline in imports. Pennsylvania’s imports fell for the fourth year in a row: about 2.7 million fewer tons of out-of-state MSW were received at Pennsylvania landfills in 2005 than in 2001. Factors causing this decline included the imposition of an additional $4.00 per ton state fee on waste disposal and the absence of rail service at Pennsylvania landfills.

New York remains the largest exporter of waste, with New Jersey in second place. Nine other states (Illinois, Missouri, Maryland, Massachusetts, Washington, Minnesota, North Carolina, Indiana, and Florida), the District of Columbia, and the Canadian province of Ontario also exported more than 1 million tons each.

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Topics: Waste Management, Transportation, Information

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