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Congress considers bill to help with lab cleanups

Indiana Ninth District Congressman Mike Sodrel, R-Jeffersonville, has co-sponsored legislation to address the explosive growth of methamphetamine, or meth labs, and the significant contamination associated with them. Last week, the bill was voted out of the House Committee on Science, of which Sodrel is a member.
‘Everyone knows that meth is a danger to users, but meth is also a serious danger to police officers, firefighters and those who are charged with cleaning up the labs,’ Sodrel said in an announcement. ‘This is a role the federal government can take to address some of the problems related to meth use in Indiana.
‘I look forward to working with my colleagues in the House to win passage of this bill.’
The bill, H.R. 798, was introduced in February by Rep. Bart Gordon, D-Tennessee, Rep. Ken Calvert, R-California, and Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New York.
H.S. 798 would charge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with coming up with voluntary guidelines for cleaning up meth labs that states could then adapt or adopt. The EPA would establish a research program on the major questions about environmental contamination from meth to help develop the guidelines.
The bill also calls on the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to help develop test kits that states and localities could use to identify meth labs.
The bill would authorize annual appropriations from fiscal year 2006 through fiscal year 2009 of $3 million for EPA and $1.5 million for NIST.
The bill now goes to the floor for consideration by the full House. Altogether, 50 House members are listed as co-sponsors.

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