Congressional Committee Advances Hazardous Waste Manifest Legislation
Related Topics: Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
Yesterday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a bill (S. 710 “The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act”) which would require EPA to create an electronic manifest system for the transportation of hazardous waste. (EPA had first proposed such a system in 2001, and refined its proposal in 2006 and 2008, but it has not been able to finalize the system without congressional action.)
The bill passed the Senate by unanimous consent in August, but the House Committee approved a slightly amended version. The newly amended bill requires Congress to appropriate funding for the System from a special Treasury account; the Senate bill establishes a system where EPA could collect funding from industry user fees, which would then be held in a special Treasury account to be sued for system-related activities. No further appropriations would be necessary under the Senate approach. The House, however, believed that funds should only be appropriated for EPA to use upon congressional approval; hence, the amended version.
The legislation, originally introduced by Senator John Thune (R-SD) and with broad bipartisan support, requires EPA to create such a system within three years of the bill’s enactment, and authorizes $2 million in funding for the task for each of the first three years. It would also create a nine-member Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest System Advisory Board. The bill is projected to save industry, state and federal government up to at least $75 million annually in paperwork costs, and would provide real-time waste tracking and data availability. Beginning after fiscal year 2015, EPA could collect user fees on the transporters of the waste as a way of paying for the system.
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