Before we had laws that regulated how we dispose of solid waste materials (household, municipal, commercial, or industrial), the most common method was to simply burn the waste or find somewhere to dump it. But as the U.S. became an industrialized economy, business boomed, the demand for products grew, and the amount of solid waste increased. At the same time, we were increasingly focused on public health—using unsanitary or unsafe methods for waste disposal was becoming unacceptable.
1965 marked the passage of the first federal law that attempted to dictate sound methods for disposing of solid waste. The Solid Waste Disposal Act (SWDA) was our country’s first attempt to improve the process of waste disposal in the United States, and it required proper disposal of all municipal and industrial wastes. But the SWDA was not specific enough about exactly how to protect the environment and the public from improper waste disposal. An amendment to the SWDA was passed in 1976 (called the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) was much more specific about how solid waste should be handled. It required the government to properly regulate solid waste disposal, and stated that whoever generated the waste was responsible for its management from “cradle to grave.” The SWDA and its subsequent amendments protect all of us from the improper disposal of hazardous waste materials.
The SWDA is one of 48 federal laws waived to expedite construction of a wall on our southern border (click here for a list of all 48 laws that have been waived). In the vicinity of the proposed border wall, therefore, the SWDA no longer must be enforced. The result—communities of humans and populations of wildlife residing in proximity to the proposed wall are no longer protected from the unsafe disposal of solid waste materials. When our lawmakers passed the SWDA to protect the public from hazardous waste, it is doubtful that they thought that the law would ever be waived.
Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives (https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members) and let them know that you oppose waiving The Solid Waste Disposal Act to expedite construction of a border wall. Click here if you would like to make a donation to help us fight the border wall.