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Policy

Electronic Tracking Of Hazardous Waste Endorsed

by Cheryl Hogue
August 6, 2012 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 90, ISSUE 32

Paperwork that must accompany hazardous waste shipments is a step closer to being replaced with an electronic tracking system. In a voice vote last week, the House of Representatives Energy & Commerce Committee approved a bill (S. 710) that would mandate electronic manifests for hazardous waste. The Senate passed the legislation a year ago. The Resource Conservation & Recovery Act requires a manifest system to ensure that hazardous waste arrives at treatment, storage, or disposal facilities. The system now involves six copies of a paper form that accompanies the waste as it is transported. The forms are later mailed to state agencies and generators of the waste, which include chemical companies and universities. Recipients of the forms must keep this paper on file. Under S. 710, EPA would establish the electronic manifest system, and the agency would be authorized to collect user fees to offset costs. Proponents of the bill, both Republicans and Democrats, say the change would save agencies, generators, and transporters collectively tens of millions of dollars per year.

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