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.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), passed the full Senate last night by Unanimous Consent.
The Environmental Protection Agency currently requires 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 and a projected $1.43 trillion deficit for this year, Congress ought to be looking for ways to streamline and modernize federal government programs to save taxpayer dollars," said Thune. "This common sense legislation to modernize the way hazardous waste is tracked will increase the efficiency and effectiveness of these programs by improving public safety and reducing burdensome paperwork requirements on the private sector."
Roughly 140,000 regulated businesses from 45 industries 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 reintroduced legislation, supported by a wide cross-section of groups, will now be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.