Prospects for the passage of a nationwide anti-metal-theft act brighten

Mar 01, 2010 | 04:40 AM | Martyn Chase

Considerable fanfare when the Secondary Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2009 was introduced early in the congressional session—an attempt to set a federal baseline for states rushing headlong to pass legislation of their own—failed to speed the bill through Congress.

But prospects appear to be much improved this year, with a series of negotiations under way on Capitol Hill involving industry and trade groups, law enforcement organizations and committee staffers.

"There's definitely still interest in getting this done this year," said Robin Wiener, president of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), Washington. "There is still significant interest in both the House and the Senate."

One big stumbling block last year was the fact that ISRI, the major trade group for the recycling industry, strongly opposed the thrust of the bills—H.R.1006 sponsored by Rep. Bart Stupak (D., Mich.) and Rep. Lee Terry (R., Neb.) and S.418 sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah). The pending legislation would place the burden on the scrap industry, with heavy paperwork requirements and stiff penalties for violations, rather than where it belongs—on the criminals stealing the material in the first place, according to ISRI.....

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