Today, the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), held a legislative hearing on two bills designed to remove regulatory burdens and reduce uncertainty for American job creators.
The first measure examined by the subcommittee was a discussion draft put forward by Rep. John Sullivan (R-OK) to provide American businesses and consumers better information on recycling. The Increasing Manufacturing Competitiveness Through Improved Recycling Act instructs EPA to collect data regarding recyclable materials that do not make it back into the manufacturing process. Voluntarily submitted data gathered from this survey will allow private enterprise to increase the rate of recycled materials while supporting sustainable private sector jobs.
Subcommittee Chairman Shimkus stated, "Despite all that has been accomplished in the collection of recyclables, there is concern among several recyclers that a considerable amount of quality feedstock materials are not ultimately being processed and reused. Many recyclers believe by asking smarter questions and collecting better data it will lead us to solutions to this problem."
Participation in recycling programs has more than tripled since 1980 and is a source of sustainable jobs and energy efficiency. While most states and local municipalities have reporting mechanisms in place and examine what materials are collected, they do not disclose where the materials end up. Under the draft legislation, this data would be collected and submitted to Congress every two years and provide much-needed analysis of recycling systems.
Lynn Bragg, President of the Glass Packaging Institute, praised the discussion draft as "legislation that would provide significant assistance to the country's manufacturing industries." She stated, "Ultimately, this legislation will provide important and new data points on the results of recycling systems, while at the same time, provide additional insight and information to decision makers at the local level, as they choose a recycling program that is right for their community."
The subcommittee also heard testimony on the Superfund Common Sense Act (H.R. 2997), sponsored by Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), which would provide certainty to American farmers and ranchers by eliminating duplicative authorities and red-tape requirements under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Superfund law, and the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA). Environmental issues currently associated with manure are regulated under state law as well as the Clean Water Act, the Solid Waste Disposal Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Clean Air Act.
"Livestock producers, along with other small businesses, face increasing regulatory uncertainty, much of it stemming from potential or proposed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules," stated Rep. Long. "Our nation's livestock producers and our agricultural industry as a whole cannot afford to comply with unnecessary regulations."
Susana Hildebrand of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality testified on the need for congressional action, stating, "Congress should make it clear that manure is not a hazardous substance regulated under CERCLA. If Congress does not act to exclude manure, then it will allow the courts or EPA to define CERCLA applicability, resulting in ambiguous, duplicative, and inappropriate requirements to other mechanisms already available to state regulators charged with the mission of protecting human health and the environment."