Press Release

April 14, 2011

WASHINGTONThe Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) today passed legislation introduced by U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and U.S. Senator John Thune (R-S.D.) to modernize the way the federal government and states track the shipment of hazardous waste.

The Hazardous Waste Electronic Manifest Establishment Act (S.710) would create an electronic manifest or “e-manifest” to track hazardous material shipments. EPA currently requires carbon copy manifests to accompany such material when it is moved for storage or disposal, commonly referred to as “cradle to grave” documentation.

“I’m proud to join Senator Thune in sponsoring this bill, which will save $100 million annually by modernizing the tracking of hazardous waste,” said Senator Cardin. “Replacing the current paper-based waste tracking system with a highly efficient and reliable electronic one would remove a tremendous paperwork burden, assist states in receiving data more quickly, and allow first responders to get data in real-time in the event of contamination. The importance of safeguarding public health from hazardous waste is something that both sides of the aisle can thankfully agree on.”  

 “With an over $14 trillion national debt, Congress ought to be looking for ways to streamline and modernize federal government programs to save taxpayer dollars, while improving the overall effectiveness of these programs,” said Senator Thune. “By modernizing the way we track hazardous waste material shipments, we can improve public safety and reduce burdensome paperwork on the private sector.” 

Roughly 139,000 regulated businesses 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.

Other cosponsors of S.710 include Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.).  Senators Cardin and Thune originally introduced e-manifest legislation (S. 3109) in the 110th Congress, but it failed to pass the Senate.