House Passes Bill Bolstering State Authority in Hazardous-Waste Cleanup

NEW YORK - MARCH 02: The heavily polluted Gowanus Canal on March 2, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York. The 140-year-old Brooklyn waterway has just been named as a Superfund site by the federal Environmental Protection Agency. The move to cleanup of the Gowanus, which was opposed by the Bloomberg administration, will cost between $300 million and $500 million and could take 10 to 12 years. 
National Journal
Clare Foran
See more stories about...
Clare Foran
Jan. 10, 2014, 1:23 a.m.

The House passed le­gis­la­tion on Thursday to amend a law already on the books gov­ern­ing fed­er­al cleanup of Su­per­fund and haz­ard­ous waste sites.

The bill was ap­proved on a party-line vote of 225-188, with only five Demo­crats sup­port­ing the meas­ure, in­clud­ing Reps. Jim Costa of Cali­for­nia, Col­lin Peterson of Min­nesota, and Nick Ra­hall of West Vir­gin­ia. The nill is not likely to be taken up by the Demo­crat­ic-con­trolled Sen­ate.

The le­gis­la­tion — the Re­du­cing Ex­cess­ive Dead­line Ob­lig­a­tions Act — is a com­bin­a­tion of three sep­ar­ate meas­ures in­tro­duced by Re­pub­lic­an Reps. Cory Gard­ner of Col­or­ado, and Bill John­son and Bob Latta of Ohio. The pack­age of bills would give states the abil­ity to as­sign pri­or­ity to Su­per­fund cleanups man­aged by fed­er­al laws, im­pose state and loc­al laws on fed­er­al cleanup pro­jects, and block the En­vir­on­ment­al Pro­tec­tion Agency from is­su­ing reg­u­la­tions for haz­ard­ous waste dis­pos­al in states where sim­il­ar reg­u­la­tions already ex­ist.

House con­ser­vat­ives used the bill’s pas­sage as a chance to put them­selves on re­cord in sup­port of elim­in­at­ing fed­er­al over­reach in the en­vir­on­ment­al sec­tor.

“We are five years in­to this failed ex­per­i­ment of in­creased gov­ern­ment spend­ing, tax­a­tion, and reg­u­la­tion,” Gard­ner said in a state­ment. “The res­ults are clear: The power to grow our eco­nomy and put Amer­ic­ans back to work lies in the private sec­tor. With more than 80,000 pages of new fed­er­al reg­u­la­tions pub­lished in 2013 alone, com­mon­sense re­vi­sions of ex­ist­ing rules and reg­u­la­tions are a vi­tal part of en­sur­ing busi­nesses that power our state and loc­al eco­nom­ies are giv­en the cap­ab­il­ity to grow.”

There was plenty of op­pos­i­tion to the le­gis­la­tion, however.

The White House is­sued a state­ment say­ing the pres­id­ent would veto the bill if it reached his desk. And more than 120 in­terest groups, in­clud­ing en­vir­on­ment­al ad­vocacy or­gan­iz­a­tions such as Earthjustice, the League of Con­ser­va­tion Voters, and the Nat­ur­al Re­sources De­fense Coun­cil, sent a let­ter to Con­gress op­pos­ing the meas­ure.

The le­gis­la­tion “sub­stan­tially in­creases the po­ten­tial for harm in com­munit­ies across the United States. As one in four Amer­ic­ans live with­in three miles of a haz­ard­ous-waste site, safe man­age­ment and prompt cleanup of tox­ic waste sites are es­sen­tial to our na­tion’s health and eco­nomy,” the sig­nat­or­ies wrote.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
History Already Being Less Kind to Hastert’s Leadership
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

In light of his recent confessions, the speakership of Dennis Hastert is being judged far more harshly. The New York Times' Carl Hulse notes that in hindsight, Hastert now "fares poorly" on a number of fronts, from his handling of the Mark Foley page scandal to "an explosion" of earmarks to the weakening of committee chairmen. "Even his namesake Hastert rule—the informal standard that no legislation should be brought to a vote without the support of a majority of the majority — has come to be seen as a structural barrier to compromise."

Source:
‘STARTING FROM ZERO’
Trump Ill Prepared for General Election
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

Even if "[t]he Republican presidential nomination may be in his sights ... Trump has so far ignored vital preparations needed for a quick and effective transition to the general election. The New York businessman has collected little information about tens of millions of voters he needs to turn out in the fall. He's sent few people to battleground states compared with likely Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, accumulated little if any research on her, and taken no steps to build a network capable of raising the roughly $1 billion needed to run a modern-day general election campaign."

Source:
27TH AMENDMENT
Congress Can’t Seem Not to Pay Itself
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Rep. Dave Young can't even refuse his own paycheck. The Iowa Republican is trying to make a point that if Congress can't pass a budget (it's already missed the April 15 deadline) then it shouldn't be paid. But, he's been informed, the 27th Amendment prohibits him from refusing his own pay. "Young’s efforts to dock his own pay, however, are duck soup compared to his larger goal: docking the pay of every lawmaker when Congress drops the budget ball." His bill to stiff his colleagues has only mustered the support of three of them. Another bill, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D-TN), has about three dozen co-sponsors.

Source:
THE QUESTION
How Far Away from Cleveland is the California GOP Staying?
5 hours ago
THE ANSWER

Sixty miles away, in Sandusky, Ohio. "We're pretty bitter about that," said Harmeet Dhillon, vice chairwoman of the California Republican Party. "It sucks to be California, we're like the ugly stepchild. They need us for our cash and our donors, they don't need us for anything else."

ATTORNEY MAY RELEASE THEM ANYWAY
SCOTUS Will Not Allow ‘DC Madam’ Phone Records to Be Released
5 hours ago
WHY WE CARE

Anyone looking forward to seeing some boldfaced names on the client list of the late Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," will have to wait a little longer. "The Supreme Court announced Monday it would not intervene to allow" the release of her phone records, "despite one of her former attorneys claiming the records are “very relevant” to the presidential election. Though he has repeatedly threatened to release the records if courts do not modify a 2007 restraining order, Montgomery Blair Sibley tells U.S. News he’s not quite sure what he now will do."

Source:
×