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Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act of 2005 (H.R. 798)

Date: 
Thursday, March 3, 2005 - 12:00am
Location: 
Washington, D.C.

Opening Statement By Hon. Bart Gordon

I want to join Chairman Boehlert in welcoming everyone to this morning’s hearing.

First, I would like to thank Rep. Calvert and Chairman Boehlert for working with me on H.R. 798, the Methamphetamine Remediation Research Act of 2005.  Rep. Calvert and Chairman Boehlert both recognize the challenges facing our local communities caused by meth abuse and production.  I am pleased that we are moving this bill so early in the 109th Congress.

Meth abuse and production is an insidious problem that is spreading rapidly across our country.  The meth epidemic destroys families and communities, leaving in its wake overtaxed law enforcement authorities, overburdened child service agencies and toxic dumps wherever meth is produced.

Last year more than 17,000 meth labs were seized nationwide.  In my state of Tennessee, law enforcement authorities seized nearly 1,200 labs and more than 700 children were placed in state custody as a result of meth lab seizures and incidents.  While these numbers are staggering, they represent only instances where labs were discovered.  Some law enforcement officials estimate that only 30% of meth labs are ever found.

While I’ve mentioned some statistics from Tennessee, other states face problems of similar size.  In addition, meth continues to spread into states where it was once thought not to be a problem.  With distributed small-scale production - and because meth abuse primarily occurs in rural areas - citizens often don’t realize there is a problem until it has already sunk its roots deep into their community.

H.R. 798 is the result of a roundtable I held in my district almost a year ago.  Working with local officials and representatives of the Tennessee Technological University, we identified a set of problems that needed to be addressed aside from more funding for law enforcement and education initiatives.

These problems included the need for health-based guidelines for the clean-up of meth labs, improved field equipment to detect meth labs, and studies on the long-term health impacts on children found in meth labs and first responders who may be exposed in the line of duty.

These issues all have a strong research component and could be addressed by agencies within the Science Committee’s jurisdiction.  H.R. 798 is the product from working with outside groups and Rep. Calvert and Chairman Boehlert.  In addition, the National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws has been a valuable resource as we were developing this bill.

H.R. 798 is not a total solution to the methamphetamine epidemic.  Unfortunately, there will always be people who decide to harm themselves by using and manufacturing dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine.  H.R. 798 is aimed at protecting innocent people whose lives are endangered by these illegal activities.

I want to thank our witnesses for taking time from their busy schedules to appear before the Committee today.

Witnesses

Panel

1 - Scott Burns
Deputy Director for State and Local Affairs White House Office of National Drug Control Policy White House Office of National Drug Control Policy
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2 - Sherry Green
Executive Director National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws National Alliance for Model State Drug Laws
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3 - Dr. John Martyny
Certified Industrial Hygienist Associate Professor at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center Associate Professor at the National Jewish Medical and R
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4 - Gary Howard
Sheriff Tioga County Tioga County
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5 - Dr. Robert Bell
President Tennessee Technological University Tennessee Technological University
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6 - Henry Hamilton
Assistant Commissioner for Public Protection New York Department of Environmental Conservation New York Department of Environmental Conservation
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Transcript
Link to Government Printing Office PDF file Link to text version Link to text version with speaker index
Serial 109-6
109th Congress