Recent Press Releases

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  A bill to modernize the way the federal government and states track the shipment of hazardous waste, the Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (S.710), introduced by Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) and cosponsored by Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), today passed the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. For the past 25 years, the Environmental Protection Agency has required carbon copy paper manifests to accompany waste materials when they are transported for ultimate storage or disposal, which is commonly referred to as "cradle to grave" documentation.

"With an over $14 trillion national debt, Congress ought to be looking for ways to streamline and modernize federal government programs to save taxpayer dollars, while improving the overall effectiveness of these programs," said Senator Thune. "By modernizing the way we track hazardous waste material shipments, we can improve public safety and reduce burdensome paperwork on the private sector."

"I'm proud to join Senator Thune in sponsoring this bill, which will save $100 million annually by modernizing the tracking of hazardous waste," said Senator Cardin. "Replacing the current paper-based waste tracking system with a highly efficient and reliable electronic one would remove a tremendous paperwork burden, assist states in receiving data more quickly, and allow first responders to get data in real-time in the event of contamination. The importance of safeguarding public health from hazardous waste is something that both sides of the aisle can thankfully agree on."

"By transitioning to an electronic system for tracking hazardous waste, we can cut red tape for industry and provide safe accounting of dangerous materials," Senator Klobuchar said. "This measure could also increase protection for first responders and improve their ability to protect our communities and families if disaster strikes."

"I am pleased to work with Senator Thune on this important bipartisan bill, which has a long history of bipartisan support. And for good reason: this e-manifest system will improve how the federal government tracks the shipment of hazardous waste. It will lessen the paperwork burden on regulated entities, and improve record keeping and federal oversight over hazardous waste transportation, saving $60 - $80 million a year. I look forward to moving this important legislation through the Senate as soon as possible," said Senator Inhofe.

"This is a common-sense reform that will help protect the public from hazardous waste and modernize our outdated system for tracking waste material while it is being shipped. I will continue working to advance this bill in the Senate," said Senator Lautenberg.

Roughly 139,000 regulated businesses submit between 2.5 million to 5 million hazardous waste manifests annually at a cost between $200 million and $500 million per year. Businesses that utilize everything from dry-cleaning chemicals to used engine oil are required to properly document the shipment of waste materials to ensure they are disposed of properly under existing environmental law.

Thune's original bipartisan electronic manifest legislation (S.3109) was introduced in the 110th Congress and passed the full Senate in September of 2008, but was never taken up by the House of Representatives. Thune's recently reintroduced legislation will now be sent to the full Senate for consideration.