Congressman Kevin Cramer

Representing North Dakota, At Large
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Cramer: House Improves Hazardous Waste Disposal Law, Empowers States

Jan 9, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congressman Kevin Cramer announced the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation granting states increased authority over hazardous waste disposal under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA). The Reducing Excessive Deadline Obligations Act of 2013 incorporates two additional bills for which Cramer was the sole cosponsor: the Federal Facility Accountability Act of 2013 and the Federal State Partnership for Environmental Protection Act of 2013.

Enacted in 1980, CERCLA created laws to hold past and current facility operators liable for hazardous site cleanup and a federal “Superfund” to ensure the cleanup of hazardous waste sites in the United States.                                                                                                                                              

The legislation improves the efficiency of CERCLA by removing outdated regulatory deadlines and leveraging existing state laws regarding waste disposal. Prior to developing new financial responsibility requirements, the EPA would be required to evaluate existing state requirements and report to Congress on any new rules it intends to establish. Second, it would require the EPA to consult adequately with states before and during the waste cleanup process. Third, it ensures states would be consulted before any waste sites are added or removed from the National Priorities List (NPL) and provides significant authority to any written objection by a state. Finally, the bill ensures federal facilities have to comply with the same state laws as a private entity during waste removal actions.

“While North Dakota is fortunate to be the only state without an active Superfund site, these improvements will ensure a better cleanup process in such an event,” said Cramer. “No federal official knows or cares more about a state’s land, water, and air than its own elected officials and citizens, which is why it is critically important to have consistent state involvement in these cases.”