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Canada Repatriates Unwanted Trash From Brooklyn

March 13, 1990

MONTREAL (AP) _ Canada has turned up its nose and sent thousands of pounds of New York City garbage back across the border, officials say.

The trash, which originated in Brooklyn, had been sitting aboard seven trucks in the yard of a trucking company for more than a month in Delson, a town just south of Montreal.

There, it offended local nostrils, stirred some foul feelings toward the United States and was heaped onto provincial and federal agencies for action.

Officials said Monday that they had finally, formally refused the refuse and sent it home - even though there is nothing illegal about taking U.S. garbage into Canada.

The ware of the waste began in early February, Ricardo Lopez, a local member of Parliament, complained that hundreds of trucks full of U.S. trash were streaming into Quebec province.

Seven of these - stuffed with everything from messy household garbage to ink-stained waste paper - ended up in Delson because the company that brought it just left the trucks sitting at the trucking company.

Lopez said the garbage is shipped in because it costs more than $100 to dump a ton in the United States while it can be disposed of in Quebec for less than $35 a ton.

Pierre Paradis, Quebec’s environment minister, found that there was no provincial law to prevent garbage from being transported into Quebec. He called on federal officials to step in and send it back whence it came.

Federal environment and customs officials inspected the containers in Delson and reported back to Paradis that yes, there was garbage in them.

However, no laws were broken, because it wasn’t toxic or dangerous, said Paul Turcotte, a spokesman for Environment Canada.

Paradis wasn’t satisfied. Last weekend, he announced he had persuaded the federal government to send the American garbage in Delson back to the United States.

Tammy Yen, a senior project officer with Canada Customs, confirmed Monday that a waste-disposal company from Philadelphia would accept the repatriation of the U.S. garbage. Yen said the U.S. Customs Service had been persuaded, with some reluctance, to let it go back south.

On Sunday, a convoy of seven trucks - escorted by Environment Quebec inspectors - took the Delson garbage back across the border. It was said to be en route to Philadelphia, but its ultimate destination was unclear.

Not all local officials are breathing freely yet, though. Mayor Georges Gagne of Delson is worried the whole sticky situation could repeat itself.

″We want some kind of guarantee that more containers won’t come in again and sit around for weeks while Quebec and Ottawa dither over what to do with them,″ he said Monday.

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