Taking another look at waste disposal

Letter to the editor

Posted: Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Chaz Miller's thoughts on garbage transport out of Alaska (Nov. 24, 2004), do not fairly account for the concerns of some Southeast Alaska communities. Another state could easily (and constitutionally) increase regulation on solid waste hauling and disposal in that state, and ultimately force generators of the waste to foot the bill. Our own state recently considered a similar requirement in another area of interstate trade: a statewide head tax on cruise ship passengers. Would stricter regulation of wastewater discharges or air emissions generated by cruise ships constitute a violation of the commerce clause? Not likely.

The point is that states can increase the cost of doing business or even discourage certain activities in many ways that fall far short of erecting unconstitutional barriers to interstate commerce. The cost of transporting solid waste out of state is already high. Our concern is that those costs will increase in ways that we cannot control. Taking another look at how we dispose of solid waste in Southeast is in our own best interest.

Jon Bolling

Craig, Alaska

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