Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Here's a Bill Idea

I like to call it the "Stinky Truck Bridge Fee." If a truck crosses a bridge from Canada to the US and smells a bit stinky, it pays a small fee, maybe a couple bucks a ton. I can imagine that most of the affected trucks would be hauling trash from Canada to Michigan, something that most people don't like.

I like it. In a couple years, we'll be mining our landfills for valuable natural resources that we "forgot" to recycle. Why not take all of Canada's trash if it's so great then? Well first off it's stinky, and nobody likes that. But we have a lot of space and we could make some requirements about stinkiness on the road. Second, their trucks really mess up the roads. More than anything else, they really ruin roads. So we can tax them (see "stinky truck bridge fee" above) accordingly.

But isn't trash bad for the environment? Not really. Trash in the environment can be bad, but trash in a landfill is a good thing. That's where it's supposed to be. Michigan has a lot of very well managed land fills, it's big business in this state and for good reason. There are a lot of really nice places in Michigan and there are a lot of really crappy ones (I know, I grew up in one). Putting a landfill in a crappy place can even make it better (see Mt. Trashmore).

So instead of debating about fake environmental issues like "Stopping Canadian Trash," we could be talking about stopping mercury pollution so we can eat Great Lakes fish again, or transitioning to wind power (Lake Michigan is a great place to do it), or forcing the Big 2.5 to do something about fuel economy. We could be talking about expanding public use of lands for hunting and fishing, or enlarging the size and increasing the quality of the state park system, or if we were really crazy, like Vern Ehlers crazy, we could talk about investing in sustainable systems that will bring jobs to the state.

Or, we could ban what could and should be a decent way for the state to make a couple bucks.

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