Is Pennsylvania America’s Dumping Ground?

State is a top importer of trash. Sen. Bob Casey wants to change that.

Saying that Pennsylvania has become one of America’s top importers of other states’ trash, Sen. Bob Casey has introduced a bill that would let officials impose new standards and fees on out-of-state garbage dumped here.

“Pennsylvania shouldn’t be a dumping ground for trash from other states,” Casey said in introducing the bill last week.

The proposal could have a big impact in Bucks County, where 75 percent of new trash at the Tullytown landfill in 2014 came from New York and New Jersey; 60 percent of the new garbage at nearby Falls comes from those two states.

“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection tracks waste shipments to landfills from other states,” the Intelligencer reports. “In 2014, the DEP reported nearly 6 million tons of trash imports from New Jersey and New York. Pennsylvania landfills, incinerators and waste-to-energy plants accepted 1,646 tons of trash from Puerto Rico and smaller shipments from states on the West Coast, according to the DEP.”

But it’s lucrative. “Tullytown distributes millions of dollars in trash import host fees back to its citizens annually. Last year’s property improvement allocation, or ‘gift,’ was $6,000,” the Intelligencer reports. “Falls and Bucks County have used the landfill host fees to balance budgets, fund capital projects, maintain parks and for long-term savings accounts.”

Waste Management, which operates the Falls and Tullytown landfills, is taking a wait-and-see approach on Casey’s bill. ““We’re going to watch this legislation as it moves through the process,” a spokesman said.