Recent Press Releases

Senate Passes Thune E-Manifest Bill

-- Legislation Would Modernize Tracking of Hazardous Waste Shipments --

September 27, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  The U.S. Senate last night passed S. 3109, Senator John Thune's bipartisan bill to modernize the way the federal government and states track the shipment of hazardous waste. For over 25 years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has required carbon copy paper manifests to accompany waste materials from their origin to ultimate storage or disposal - commonly referred to as "cradle to grave" documentation. The bill was passed by unanimous consent and would allow for the transition from paper manifests to electronic manifests.

"The careful tracking of hazardous waste material shipments is important for environmental and public safety," said Thune. "Unfortunately, an out of date process has grown into the largest continuous paperwork burden under federal environmental law. By making the reporting process electronic, the EPA will significantly improve this process, which enjoys broad support, will save taxpayer dollars, and assist states in having a better understanding of hazardous materials that are transported and ultimately disposed of across the country."

Roughly 139,000 regulated entities track 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 environmental law.

Senator Thune's legislation stems from his efforts to modernize the tracking system as the Chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Superfund and Waste Management Subcommittee during the 109th Congress. Senator Thune worked closely with the regulated community, states, the EPA and other stakeholders who all support the transition to a more efficient process of environmental compliance and regulation.

Thune's legislation is cosponsored by Senators Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN). The legislation must now be approved by the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the President for his consideration.