NEW YORK A proposed national scrap metals theft law that would impose federal penalties on those found guilty of stealing metals for scrap has been called encouraging by players in the industry.
Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) announced Thursday that his proposed new legislation would make "stealing metal from critical infrastructure" a federal crime and would introduce strict documentation requirements for sellers.
The proposed legislation would also mandate basic recordkeeping by scrap metals buyers and prohibit them from paying more than $100 in cash for scrap.
"Above $100, scrap metal sellers will have to be paid by check, aside from established commercial transactions," the senators office said.
The bill is the latest attempt by Schumer and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) to introduce scrap metals theft legislation at a federal level. A bill the two senators submitted, along with Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah), in 2009 hasnt seen any movement since it was referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation (amm.com, Dec. 10, 2009).
Scott Horne, Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI)s general counsel and vice president of government affairs, told AMM that although he has not yet seen the text of the proposed legislation, the organization is encouraged by Schumers apparent determination to target scrap metals thieves instead of recyclers.
"This is something weve said needs to be done time and time again. What is not necessary is the imposition of additional requirements of scrap recyclers, because youve got 48 statessoon to be 49that have recordkeeping provisions in their laws. Unless the law preempts state and local laws that place a host of requirements on scrap recyclers, you dont need a federal law to overlay those state and local laws," he said.
Horne also noted that a national bill could help prevent scrap metals thieves from traveling across state lines in order to sell stolen material.
Representatives for the two senators couldnt be reached for further details on the legislation.
However, one scrap dealer told AMM that he thinks "the bar is too low" at a $100 cash limit. "It needs to be at least $500, because there are a lot of scrappers out there who clean out garages that will have $200 to $250 of material that theyre willing to do for cash," the
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries had given "tentative support" to the bill. ISRI has not taken a position on the proposed bill.