March 18, 1997

Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing today to revive this important discussion concerning disposal of our nations' waste.

As you know, Congress has come very close in the last few years to passing interstate waste and flow control legislation. I am hopeful that with your leadership, we will be able to act quickly to finally resolve these issues which have caused much unnecessary litigation and economic hardship throughout the nation.

In my state of California, counties are required to meet aggressive recycling and waste reduction goals -- there was a 25% reduction by the beginning of the 1995 and there must be a 50% reduction by the turn of the century. To meet these ambitious goals, California counties must aggressively manage their municipal solid waste.

However, California communities do not use flow control authority to do this. Instead, they rely on contracts with private waste companies to ensure that their garbage goes to a designated recycling plant or other waste facility. They also believe that the Supreme Court's decision in Carbone v. Clarkstown does not restrict such contracts.

Many California counties have contacted me to voice their concern about potential impacts federal legislation may have on their ability to meet the State's solid waste goals. They fear that the bill will unintentionally restrict their ability to employ contractual agreements to direct waste to particular waste facilities.

As you may recall, I was unable to support final passage of legislation introduced last session. The legislation did not adequately address the needs of many California cities and counties which have incurred debt in order to achieve California's ambitious integrated waste management requirements.

I intend to follow this issue closely and will work to preserve the ability of California's counties to meet their waste management responsibilities.

Thank you again, Mr. Chairman and Senator Baucus, for the hard work that you have put into resolving these complex waste questions. I welcome our witnesses today, and look forward to hearing their testimony.