METHAMPHETAMINE REMEDIATION RESEARCH ACT OF 2005; Congressional Record Vol. 152, No. 135
(Senate - December 08, 2006)

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[Pages S11802-S11803]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Committee 
on Environment and Public Works be discharged from further 
consideration of H.R. 798 and the Senate proceed to its immediate 
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The clerk will report the bill by title.
  The assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

       A bill (H.R. 798) to provide for a research program for 
     remediation of closed methamphetamine production 
     laboratories, and for other purposes.

  There being no objection, the Senate proceeded to consider the bill.
  Mr. SESSIONS. Mr. President, I would like to say a few words about 
the pending passage of the Native American Methamphetamine Enforcement 
and Treatment Act of 2006. Section 2 of the act authorizes Indian 
tribes to receive grants under section 2996(a) of the Omnibus Crime 
Control and Safe Streets Act in order to address the scourge of 
methamphetamine. I strongly support aiding Indian tribes in their 
efforts to combat the methamphetamine epidemic in Indian country.
  Members of the steering committee, which I chair, expressed concern 
about one part of the original bill--a concern that I am pleased to 
announce will be addressed by the substitute amendment.
  Part of the bill authorizes tribes to receive grants, under 42 U.S.C. 
3793cc(a)(3)(A), to ``investigate, arrest and prosecute individuals 
violating laws related to the use, manufacture, or sale of 
methamphetamine.'' The problem was that the bill originally appeared to 
authorize any tribe, without limitation, to receive these grants--
grants that can only be used for law enforcement activities. Permitting 
these grants to all tribes would not have been appropriate, since many 
tribes--indeed, perhaps a majority of the officially recognized tribes 
in this country--do not have any criminal jurisdiction. Many officially 
recognized tribes, for example, were only recognized long after their 
States were admitted to the Union or only received land from the 
Federal government long after that land had become part of a State and 
State jurisdiction had attached to it. Although these tribes may 
receive Federal services, their recognition or receipt of land did not 
divest the State of its jurisdiction or bring into being a new 
government within the State. Nearly half of the recognized tribes in 
the United States, for example, are in the State of Alaska, and were 
first recognized in the early 1990s. Obviously, the Federal Government 
did not create over 200 new governments in Alaska by this action. 
Tribes such as these do not exercise any governmental powers and, 
consequently, do not have the authority to arrest, prosecute, or punish 
individuals. In several other States, although tribes were preserved as 
separate jurisdictions when their surrounding States entered the Union, 
and they enjoyed criminal law enforcement powers for many years 
thereafter, those tribes were later divested of criminal jurisdiction 
by Public Law 280. That law transferred criminal jurisdiction from 
tribes to State and local governments in the several States identified 
in that law or that later opted into its provisions. Again, because 
tribes in Public Law 280 States no longer have criminal jurisdiction, 
they cannot arrest, prosecute, or punish individuals for crimes.
  Arguably, the Justice Department would have been aware of these 
issues and would have only awarded grants to tribes that exercise 
criminal jurisdiction. These issues, however, are more in the expertise 
of the Department of the Interior than the Justice Department, and 
there have been reports that some law enforcement grants were 
inappropriately awarded to nongovernmental tribes in the 1990s. The 
language added by new paragraph 2(a)(4) of the act serves as a reminder 
to the Justice Department to first verify that a tribe exercises law 
enforcement powers before awarding a grant to the tribe under paragraph 
3793cc(3)(A). When a tribe applies for such a grant, the Department 
must first determine whether the tribe exercise law enforcement powers. 
It must ask, was the tribe preserved as a separate jurisdiction when 
its surrounding State was admitted to the Union, and is the tribe 
subject to Public Law 280? Only if the answer to the first question is 
yes and the second is no is the tribe eligible to receive grants under 
paragraph 3793cc(3)(A).
  (At the request of Mr. Reid, the following statement was ordered to 
be printed in the Record.)
 Mr. JEFFORDS. Mr. President, today the Senate is acting on 
H.R. 798 Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act, with an amendment 
developed by the Senator from Oregon, Mr. Smith. This legislation is 
designed to assist communities perform preliminary site assessments and 
remediate former methamphetamine, or meth, labs.
  The bill requires the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, to 
develop voluntary guidelines for communities engaged in meth 
remediation activities. The guidelines would help communities identify 
contaminants from meth labs and establish appropriate cleanup levels. 
In implementing this legislation, it is my hope that the EPA should 
also issue companion regulations that would assist communities in 
implementing these voluntary guidelines. These regulations should 
identify contaminants from meth labs, establish appropriate cleanup 
levels, address sampling activities in the residences, training and 
certification for response workers, and use of personal protective 
  There is a need for regulations and a Federal cleanup standard, in 
addition to voluntary guidelines, because of the nature and abundance 
of waste produced from meth labs. Many of the chemicals and wastes 
often associated with meth production are considered hazardous wastes 
under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or RCRA. Some of 
these wastes are classified under RCRA as ``characteristic'' waste, 
meaning that they are ignitable. Other wastes produced by the 
manufacture of meth are regulated in other sections of law, such as the 
solvents and other chemicals used in the purification process.
  The reason companion regulation is needed is meth's toxicity. One 
pound of manufactured meth produces 5 pounds of waste. Chemicals used 
in meth production cause breathing problems, skin irritation, 
headaches, damage to the central nervous system, and, in some cases, 
death. Meth waste is typically dumped on the ground or down drains, 
which contaminates drain fields, soils and surface waters. Cleanup 
usually involves the removal and disposal of wastes and the ventilation 
and plumbing systems.
  Several States have already developed standards and regulations for 
cleanup and for determining if a meth-contaminated property is 
``clean.'' Oregon's level is 0.5 micrograms per square foot. And the 
State of Tennessee has set a level that is 0.1 microgram per hundred 
square centimeters. EPA should follow suit.
  Ten years ago, EPA developed extensive regulations for the 
remediation of lead based paint waste. Waste from meth labs appears to 
present a more immediate public safety concern. EPA should develop the 
same type of comprehensive regulations to address sampling and worker 
protection, and should do all it can to assist our communities in these 
  Mr. FRIST. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the amendment 
at the desk be agreed to, the bill, as amended, be read a third time 
and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and that 
any statements relating to the measure be printed in the Record.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  The amendment (No. 5239) was agreed to, as follows:

       Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 


       This Act may be cited as the ``Methamphetamine Remediation 
     Research Act of 2006''.

     SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

       Congress finds that--
       (1) methamphetamine use and production is growing rapidly 
     throughout the United States;

[[Page S11803]]

       (2) some materials and chemical residues remaining from the 
     production of methamphetamine pose novel environmental 
     problems in locations in which methamphetamine laboratories 
     have been closed;
       (3) there has been little standardization of measures for 
     determining when the site of a former methamphetamine 
     laboratory has been successfully remediated;
       (4)(A) initial cleanup actions are generally limited to 
     removal of hazardous substances and contaminated materials 
     that pose an immediate threat to public health or the 
     environment; and
       (B) it is not uncommon for significant levels of 
     contamination to be found throughout residential structures 
     in which methamphetamine has been manufactured, partially 
     because of a lack of knowledge of how to achieve an effective 
       (5)(A) data on methamphetamine laboratory-related 
     contaminants of concern are very limited;
       (B) uniform cleanup standards do not exist; and
       (C) procedures for sampling and analysis of contaminants 
     need to be researched and developed; and
       (6) many States are struggling with establishing assessment 
     and remediation guidelines and programs to address the 
     rapidly expanding number of methamphetamine laboratories 
     being closed each year.


       (a) Establishment of Voluntary Guidelines.--Not later than 
     1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the 
     Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency 
     (referred to in this Act as the ``Administrator''), in 
     consultation with the National Institute of Standards and 
     Technology, shall establish voluntary guidelines, based on 
     the best available scientific knowledge, for the remediation 
     of former methamphetamine laboratories, including guidelines 
     regarding preliminary site assessment and the remediation of 
     residual contaminants.
       (b) Considerations.--In developing the voluntary guidelines 
     under subsection (a), the Administrator shall consider, at a 
       (1) relevant standards, guidelines, and requirements found 
     in Federal, State, and local laws (including regulations);
       (2) the varying types and locations of former 
     methamphetamine laboratories; and
       (3) the expected cost of carrying out any proposed 
       (c) States.--
       (1) In general.--The voluntary guidelines should be 
     designed to assist State and local governments in the 
     development and the implementation of legislation and other 
     policies to apply state-of-the-art knowledge and research 
     results to the remediation of former methamphetamine 
       (2) Adoption.--The Administrator shall work with State and 
     local governments and other relevant non-Federal agencies and 
     organizations, including through the conference described in 
     section 5, to promote and encourage the appropriate adoption 
     of the voluntary guidelines.
       (d) Updating the Guidelines.--The Administrator shall 
     periodically update the voluntary guidelines as the 
     Administrator, in consultation with States and other 
     interested parties, determines to be appropriate to 
     incorporate research findings and other new knowledge.


       (a) In General.--The Administrator shall establish a 
     program of research to support the development and revision 
     of the voluntary guidelines described in section 3.
       (b) Research.--The research shall--
       (1) identify methamphetamine laboratory-related chemicals 
     of concern;
       (2) assess the types and levels of exposure to chemicals of 
     concern identified under paragraph (1), including routine and 
     accidental exposures, that may present a significant risk of 
     adverse biological effects;
       (3) identify the research efforts necessary to better 
     address biological effects and to minimize adverse human 
       (4) evaluate the performance of various methamphetamine 
     laboratory cleanup and remediation techniques; and
       (5) support other research priorities identified by the 
     Administrator, in consultation with States and other 
     interested parties.


       (a) Conference.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act and at least every third year 
     thereafter, the Administrator shall convene a conference of 
     appropriate State agencies, individuals, and organizations 
     involved in research and other activities directly relating 
     to the environmental or biological impacts of former 
     methamphetamine laboratories.
       (2) Forum.--The conference should be a forum for--
       (A) the Administrator to provide information on the 
     guidelines developed under section 3 and on the latest 
     findings from the research program described in section 4; 
       (B) non-Federal participants to provide information on the 
     problems and needs of States and localities and their 
     experience with guidelines developed under section 3.
       (b) Report.--
       (1) In general.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
     each conference, the Administrator shall submit to Congress a 
     report that summarizes the proceedings of the conference, 
     including a summary of any recommendations or concerns raised 
     by the non-Federal participants in that conference and how 
     the Administrator intends to respond to the recommendations 
     or concerns.
       (2) Public availability.--The Administrator shall make each 
     report widely available to the general public.


       (a) Study.--Not later than 180 days after the date of 
     enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall offer to enter 
     into an arrangement with the National Academy of Sciences 
     under which the National Academy of Sciences shall conduct a 
     study of the status and quality of research on the residual 
     effects of methamphetamine laboratories.
       (b) Content.--The study shall identify research gaps and 
     recommend an agenda for the research program described in 
     section 4, with particular attention to the need for research 
     on the impacts of methamphetamine laboratories on--
       (1) the residents of buildings in which such laboratories 
     are, or were, located, with particular emphasis given to 
     biological impacts on children; and
       (2) first responders.
       (c) Report.--Not later than 90 days after the date of 
     completion of the study, the Administrator shall submit to 
     Congress a report describing the manner in which the 
     Administrator will use the results of the study to carry out 
     the activities described in sections 3 and 4.


       The Director of National Institute of Standards and 
     Technology, in consultation with the Administrator, shall 
     support a research program to develop--
       (1) new methamphetamine detection technologies, with 
     emphasis on field test kits and site detection; and
       (2) appropriate standard reference materials and validation 
     procedures for methamphetamine detection testing.


       Nothing in this Act modifies or otherwise affects the 
     regulatory authority of the Environmental Protection Agency.


       (a) Environmental Protection Agency.--There is authorized 
     to be appropriated to the Administrator to carry out this Act 
     $1,750,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 and 2008.
       (b) National Institute of Standards and Technology.--There 
     is authorized to be appropriated to the Director of the 
     National Institute of Standards and Technology to carry out 
     this Act $750,000 for each of fiscal years 2007 and 2008.

  The amendment was ordered to be engrossed and the bill to be read a 
third time.
  The bill (H.R. 798), as amended, was read the third time and passed.