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Press Releases :: February 16, 2005

Gordon Continues Fight to Rid Communities of Methamphetamine

Introduces Bi-Partisan Gordon/Calvert Bill to Clean Up Meth Sites

(Washington, DC) House Science Committee Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN) led a group of bi-partisan colleagues in introducing legislation to develop health-based guidelines for the clean-up of former methamphetamine labs.  Fellow Science Committee Member Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) joined Mr. Gordon as co-sponsor of this important legislation.

The Gordon/Calvert legislation (H.R. 798) would require the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in conjunction with state and local authorities, to begin development of a national set of health-based clean-up guidelines for former methamphetamine - or "meth" - labs; fund the development of field-test kits to detect meth labs for use by law enforcement; and fund a study on the long-term health effects of children recovered from meth labs and the long-term health effects on law enforcement officers.

"When we can effectively locate meth production sites and clean them up, our communities benefit," stated Gordon. "This bill will identify key areas where science and technology can support local efforts on the front lines of the meth battle."

An estimated 1.3 million Americans are now using this highly addictive drug.  The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported more than 7,000 meth labs were dismantled nationwide in 2003.  Local law enforcement officials estimate this number represents only 20% of current active meth labs.

"This drug is a problem not just in the way it affects individuals and their families, but in the toxic hazards its illegal production inflicts on our communities.  Scientific research is needed to determine the point at which a site may be declared clean," stated Rep. Calvert.  "Without parameters to measure toxins and contaminants we cannot ensure the safety of the public and communities affected well into the future."

With attention typically focused on local law enforcement issues surrounding meth, its affect on children and the environment is often overlooked.  Meth is usually produced in residential settings, where the toxic residue lingers to affect children and even future property owners.

It has been reported that producing a single pound of meth creates five to seven pounds of toxic waste.  Local officials bear the responsibility for detection and clean up these dangerous sites, yet no national standards currently exist that define a "clean," meth-free site.

At a recent national conference of the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws, state and local officials from across the country cited environmental clean-up and remediation of former meth labs among the top challenges they face in their home areas.

"Local communities are working to get rid of meth and clean up their cities and towns, and we’re here to assist them," added Gordon.  "Proactive solutions involve learning the best ways to detect, remediate and stem the production of this devastating drug."

Attached are 2004 figures from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) citing state-by-state totals of methamphetamine related arrests and equipment/dumpsite/lab seizures.  These figures are currently only 60% complete as 2004 data is still being reported.

2004 DATA
[Although up to date, DEA estimates these figures to be only 60% complete
due to a lag in reporting (i.e. final 2004 data is still being reported)]
Alabama 378 535
Alaska 48 2
Arizona 95 104
Arkansas 743 883
California 673 53
Colorado 223 218
Connecticut * *
Delaware 3 2
Florida 277 327
Georgia 233 327
Hawaii 7 3
Idaho 43 41
Illinois 926 813
Indiana 1002 858
Iowa 1300 786
Kansas 538 278
Kentucky 562 429
Louisiana 113 158
Maine * *
Maryland * *
Massachusetts 1 2
Michigan 282 139
Minnesota 165 158
Mississippi 246 320
Missouri 2707 2370
Montana 64 53
Nebraska 200 160
Nevada 79 52
New Hampshire 2 *
New Jersey * *
New Mexico 118 122
New York 28 26
North Carolina 317 359
North Dakota 217 105
Ohio 211 272
Oklahoma 652 692
Oregon 420 23
Pennsylvania 106 36
Rhode Island * *
South Carolina 154 122
South Dakota 31 31
Tennessee 1259 1357
Texas 434 515
Utah 67 68
Vermont 1 *
Virginia 73 83
Washington 743 31
West Virginia 145 117
Wisconsin 74 62
Wyoming 21 17

News from the House Science and Technology Committee
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Bart Gordon, Chairman


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