Statement by Senator James M. Jeffords
Senate Environment & Public Works Committee
Hearing on Interstate Waste and Flow Control
Wednesday, March 20, 2002
Good Morning. I'd like to begin by thanking all of our witnesses for participating in today's hearing.
The issues of interstate waste and flow control engender strong divergent views. I acknowledge the challenges that my friends from Montana and Pennsylvania face. I also recognize that my friends from New York and New Jersey confront opposing pressures.
These issues pit our Constitution's Commerce clause and the economic benefits resulting from the free flow of goods against States' rights and the desires of local communities to decide their own fate. There is no right side and there is no easy answer. These are issues that neither the courts nor Congress has been able to solve.
Unfortunately, I do not bring a magic solution to the concerns being raised today. There is no doubt that these issues are important enough to warrant a thorough discussion. While I am pleased that we could fulfill the wishes of several Committee members by conducting this hearing, I also recognize that we have a long way to go before we reach greater agreement. Until such time, we remain stymied by the issues that our witnesses raise in their testimonies.
In the context of today's discussion, it is also important to recognize two issues that merit this Committee's further attention: waste reduction and recycling. In Vermont, solid waste plans must demonstrate a high level of recycling, and trash districts can charge fees to help pay for recycling programs. Pennsylvania's recycling efforts, as outlined in Mr. Hess' testimony, also serve as a model that other states should follow.
This summer, I plan to conduct a hearing on recycling. Specifically, I would like to examine legislation to institute a national bottle recycling program, as well as federal activities regarding procurement of recycled-content products.