Sen. Robert P. Casey (D., Pa.) introduced legislation Wednesday that could change how waste is moved between states, potentially reducing the amount that ends up in Pennsylvania landfills.
The bill, known as the Trash Reduction and Sensible Handling Act of 2015, would allow states to set their own standards for handling waste, and require that all waste shipped in from other states meets those standards. It would also allow states to impose fees for collecting waste from out of state even if the incoming waste met the host state's standards.
The goal, Casey said in a statement, was to reduce the amount of trash sent into Pennsylvania, which in 2014 received more than seven million tons from other states, according to figures from the state Department for Environmental Protection.
"Pennsylvania shouldn't be a dumping ground," Casey said.
There are more than 40 municipal waste landfills statewide, according to the DEP, including several large facilities in lower Bucks County.
One Bucks landfill, in Tullytown, accepted more than 1.3 million tons of waste in 2014 from New York and New Jersey alone, according to DEP figures. Last week the DEP fined Houston-based Waste Management for failing to control odors and treat wastewater properly at the Tullytown dump and two others it owns in the county.
The Tullytown facility is set to be closed by 2017, according to the DEP, and a second, in Morrisville, is scheduled to close in 2019. The other facility cited in the fines has been closed, the DEP said.
Casey's interest in the issue was sparked this year by residents of Dunmore, near Scranton, who were concerned about the expansion of the Keystone Sanitary Landfill, said John Rizzo, a Casey spokesman.