U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works
Hearing Statements
Date:   09/28/2006
Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe
Legislative Hearing to Consider S. 3871, a Bill Directing the EPA to Establish a Hazardous Waste Manifest System

· As a former Mayor, I know all too well how federal requirements can effectively tax local and state governments. Federal requirements should be flexibly applied so that each state can implement them in the ways most efficient for them. The paper manifest system under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act was not flexibly applied in the last two and a half decades.

· The bill that Sen. Thune has sponsored and that I am proud to co-sponsor with the ranking member seeks to change that.

· This legislation seeks to reduce time, staffing, and financial burdens on states as they comply with federal requirements by transforming the manner in which hazardous waste data is collected, stored, and accessed.

· Frankly, I am disappointed that the Federal government needs legislation to do something that seems so obvious in this day and age.

· For those concerned about how much paper is used for this inefficient and burdensome requirement –

· According to EPA, the paper manifest system generates up to 156 tons of paper per year. It takes roughly 17 trees to create a ton of paper. This means that RCRA’s supposed environmental purpose requires 2,652 trees per year.

· Rather than benefit from the efficiencies that computers can provide, current regulations require a paper manifest system comprised of six-carbon copies which must be filled out and signed by each person who handles the waste. Those copies must not only accompany the waste as it is transported but must be mailed to generators and state agencies and kept on file by each regulated entity.

· EPA estimates that roughly 146,000 regulated entities track between 2.5-5 million manifests each year.

· The current system is far too burdensome on all parties, especially the private sector and state managers.

· I sincerely hope that we can pass this non-controversial bill quickly.

· I look forward to hearing from our witnesses.