Text: S.3666 — 110th Congress (2007-2008)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in Senate (10/01/2008)

2d Session
S. 3666

To require certain metal recyclers to keep records of their transactions in order to deter individuals and enterprises engaged in theft and interstate fencing of stolen copper, and for other purposes.


October 1 (legislative day, September 17), 2008

Ms. Klobuchar (for herself and Mr. Hatch) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation


To require certain metal recyclers to keep records of their transactions in order to deter individuals and enterprises engaged in theft and interstate fencing of stolen copper, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Copper Theft Prevention Act of 2008”.

SEC. 2. Findings and purposes.

(a) Findings.—Congress finds that—

(1) since 2006, metal theft, particularly the theft of copper, has been on the rise, largely due to a surge in the global demand for scrap metal;

(2) the price of copper has risen from $2 per pound in mid-2006 to more than $4 per pound in early 2008;

(3) theft of copper is jeopardizing the critical infrastructure of the United States through theft of the copper in transportation, electrical, and telecommunications networks;

(4) from January 2006 through March 2007, 270 copper thefts from electric utilities in 42 States were reported;

(5) many arrests of copper thieves show a growing connection between the thefts and illegal drug activity, particularly activity relating to methamphetamine;

(6) the 2008 Threat Assessment of the National Drug Intelligence Center shows a growing threat of methamphetamine use;

(7) law enforcement officials have testified that legislation will help combat methamphetamine problems, as metal theft has become a favored method of raising money to satisfy methamphetamine addiction;

(8) copper thefts are increasing primarily because of the lack of pressure on the scrap and salvage yards that pay for copper and other precious metal without asking questions about the source of the metal; and

(9) combating the problem of copper theft will require improved communications between metal businesses and law enforcement agencies.

(b) Purposes.—The purposes of this Act are—

(1) to protect consumers, businesses, critical infrastructure, and State and local governments in the United States from the problem of copper theft (including any related adverse health and safety risks caused by copper theft); and

(2) to permit legitimate transactions to continue to take place by establishing a system to document metal transactions between sellers and buyers while addressing the growing problem of copper theft that facilitates illegal drug use and other crimes.

SEC. 3. Definition of secondary copper recycler.

In this Act, the term “secondary copper recycler” means any person that is engaged, from a fixed location or otherwise, in the business of paying compensation for copper that has served its original economic purpose, regardless of whether the person is engaged in the business of performing the manufacturing process by which copper is converted into raw material products consisting of prepared grades and having an existing or potential economic value.

SEC. 4. Requirements on copper recyclers.

(a) Records.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A secondary copper recycler shall maintain a legible record of all copper property purchase transactions to which the secondary copper recycler is a party that includes, for each transaction—

(A) the name and address of the secondary copper recycler;

(B) the date of the transaction;

(C) the weight, quantity, or volume of copper property purchased, including—

(i) the consideration paid by the secondary copper recycler; and

(ii) a description of the type of copper property purchased in the purchase transaction, including a general physical description (such as by describing the copper property as wire, tubing, extrusions, or casting);

(D) the name and address of the person delivering the copper property to the secondary copper recycler;

(E) the distinctive number from a Federal or State government-issued identification with a photograph of the person delivering the copper property to the secondary copper recycler, and the type of the identification; and

(F) the license tag number, State of issue, make, and model, if available, of the vehicle used to deliver the copper property to the secondary copper recycler.

(2) REPEAT SELLERS.—In the case of a person that sells copper property to the same secondary copper recycler more than once, the secondary copper recycler may comply with this subsection by—

(A) maintaining a record relating to the seller; and

(B) including in the record for subsequent transactions only the information relating to a seller that has changed.

(3) MINIMUM PERIOD.—A secondary copper recycler shall maintain or cause to be maintained the records required by this subsection for not less than 1 year beginning on the date of the purchase transaction.

(b) Prohibition against certain cash transactions.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A secondary copper recycler shall not enter into any cash transaction in excess of $250 in payment for the purchase of copper property.

(2) REQUIREMENTS.—For any purchase of copper property in excess of $250—

(A) a secondary copper recycler shall make payment by check issued to the seller of the copper property; and

(B) the check shall be payable to the name and address of the seller or picked up in person by the seller.

(c) Penalty.—

(1) CIVIL PENALTY.—A secondary copper recycler who violates subsection (a) or (b) shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $10,000.

(2) NO CRIMINAL LIABILITY.—Subject to section 5, a violation of subsection (a) or (b)—

(A) shall not constitute a crime; and

(B) in the event of a judgment for the United States and imposition of a civil penalty pursuant to paragraph (1), shall not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction for a criminal offense.

SEC. 5. Rule of construction regarding State and local government requirements.

Nothing in this Act prohibits a State or local government from adopting any requirement in addition to the requirements under this Act to govern the purchase of copper property by a secondary copper recycler.

SEC. 6. Protection of personal information.

(a) In general.—A secondary copper recycler or the agent, employee, or representative of a secondary copper recycler shall not disclose personal information concerning a customer obtained under this Act without the consent of the customer unless the disclosure is made in response to a request from a law enforcement agency.

(b) Safeguards.—A secondary copper recycler shall implement reasonable safeguards—

(1) to protect the security of the personal information required under section 4(a)(1); and

(2) to prevent unauthorized access to or disclosure of that information.