Washington, DC, January 21, 2007 - In their first full Committee meeting of the 110th Congress, the House Committee on Science and Technology today officially organized and adopted rules for the new session.
The Committee also approved three pieces of broadly supported bi-partisan legislation aimed at cleaning up methamphetamine abuse in local communities, supporting science education and honoring U.S. engineers.
Ranking Member Ralph Hall (D-TX) said, “I am very pleased that the Science and Technology Committee was able to start off the new Congress on such a positive note. We came together for the first time and passed valuable legislation that will help communities handle the cleanup of dangerous pollutants from methamphetamine labs. We were also able to honor the great work of America’s engineers and African American chemists. I look forward to working with Chairman Gordon on many more important issues this Congress.”
H.R 365, the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act of 2007, cleared the Committee with unanimous support. The legislation focuses on the clean-up needs for former methamphetamine or “meth” labs – one of the most devastating problems facing communities across the country.
An extremely addictive drug, meth continues to gravely damage the lives of individuals and families in nearly every area of the country. Its production and use has taken a considerable human and environmental toll on local communities. Untrained individuals “cook” meth using toxic chemicals in make-shift laboratories leaving behind dangerous, often hidden residues that threaten the health of all who come into contact with them.
- Requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop model, voluntary, health-based clean-up guidelines for use by states and localities;
- Authorizes the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to initiate a research program to develop meth detection equipment for field use; and
- Requires a study by the National Academy of Sciences on the long-term health impact of exposure to meth labs on children and first-responders.
Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) first introduced the bill in the 109th Congress (H.R. 798). It passed both the House and Senate, but failed to complete the process before time expired in the 109th session. The consensus bill reintroduced in the 110th session contains two changes from the original – (1) it moves responsibility for oversight of the program from the Assistant Secretary of the Office of R&D at EPA to the EPA Administrator, and (2) the funding and authorization levels have been slightly reduced.
The legislation is expected to clear both the House and the Senate in short order.