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Press Releases :: March 17, 2005

Gordon Methamphetamine Clean-Up Bill Advances

(Washington, DC) The Science Committee has cleared the way for final U.S. House consideration of legislation designed to combat the production and spread of the highly addictive drug methamphetamine, or “meth.”

H.R. 798, the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act of 2005, sponsored by Ranking Member Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN), Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA) and Committee Chairman Rep. Sherwood Boehlert (R-NY), received unanimous committee approval today.

"I’m encouraged that this bill is moving quickly through the legislative process," stated Rep. Gordon.  "States, communities and local first responders are doing all they can to combat meth, but they need more resources - they need the tools this bill will provide."

This bipartisan legislation is the outcome of a district roundtable on methamphetamine Rep. Gordon hosted last year in his home state of Tennessee.  The burgeoning meth problem in Tennessee resulted in the seizure of more than 1,200 labs last year alone.

Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act of 2005 components include:

  • Establishment of a research program at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop voluntary health-based guidelines for clean-up of meth labs.  EPA will begin by issuing current best practices and updating them as research continues.
  • Establishment of a research program at the National Institutes of Science and Technology (NIST) to develop meth detection equipment with an emphasis on field test kits.
  • A study by the National Academy of Sciences on the long-term health impacts of children taken from meth labs and on first responders.

Meth labs endanger those producing the drug and create a serious a public health threat to all who live in or come in contact with the production site.

"This bill will insure that we locate meth labs more quickly, shut them down and clean them up.  Protecting meth’s unintended victims – our first responders, children, and communities - is our foremost concern," Rep. Gordon added.  In Tennessee last year, more than 700 children were taken from homes where meth was being produced and placed into state custody.   This comes at a cost of $4 million to the state and potentially millions more in treating unknown long-term health affects.

"Methamphetamine is a dangerous drug that has had devastating effects on my district and many areas across the country," stated Rep. Russ Carnahan (D-MO).  Carnahan, a Science Committee member and bill cosponsor, represents Missouri's 3rd Congressional District, which includes Jefferson County, Missouri, the number one county in Missouri for methamphetamine related arrests and seizures.  Missouri tops all states for such arrests and seizures.

In testimony before the Science Committee during a hearing on H.R. 798, Ms. Sherry Green, Executive Director for the National Association of Model State Drug Laws, commented, "Because research into the long-term health effects associated with clandestine laboratories has just recently begun, health- or risk-based standards have not been determined yet….  Any research that addresses these concerns and questions would greatly benefits states’ efforts related to decontamination of former meth lab sites."

"H.R. 798 engages federal agencies and their research in attacking a problem that our communities are facing right now - this bill will save lives," concluded Rep. Gordon.  "Methamphetamine use and production is a scourge from which no area of the country is immune."

The bill authorizes $3 million/year for EPA (FY06-09) and $1.5 million/year for NIST (FY06-09).

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