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Washington, D.C., October 25, 1973.
As we approach the expiration date for authorization of appropriations for the Solid Waste Disposal Act, we are faced with the necessity to consider the closely-related issues of resource conservation, resource recovery, and national materials policy.
These issues are very complex and their interactions are not fully understood. There is some question as to whether their often conflicting requirements can be accommodated.
The Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution has commissioned a number of special studies intended to help us in our quest for increased insight concerning this important area of public policy. I have ordered the summary findings of these studies to be compiled as a Committee Print to provide a convenient basis for continuing study and preparation for future hearings.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL
Washington, D.C., October 25, 1973.
DEAR JENNINGS: For almost a decade, the Committee on Public Works has been writing legislation designed to improve the efficiency of materials disposal. Through the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965 and its amendment, the Resource Recovery Act of 1970, Federallysupported studies have generated a greatly improved understanding of the problems and opportunities associated with solid waste recycling. Federal guidelines have been developed to aid State and local authorities in developing solid waste management programs. Federal financial support has greatly strengthened State planning and regulatory activities. And demonstration projects are providing operating proof of recycling technology. In addition, Federally-supported urban planning projects have greatly aided major cities in their struggles with growing volumes of trash and garbage.
The Committee is now preparing to reconsider the provisions of the Solid Waste Disposal Act, as amended, in light of the insight we have gained from the reports generated under that legislation. To broaden our approach beyond solid waste management and resource recovery, we must seek to integrate future solid waste management programs with efforts relative to resource conservation, materials flow through the economy, and questions concerning the future quality of life to which our people aspire.
The National Materials Policy Act of 1970 created the National Commission on Materials Policy to study materials supply and usage and other factors, including environmental impacts from extraction, processing, use, and disposal, and to make recommendations to Congress concerning materials policy needs for the rest of this century. The Commission transmitted its report on June 27, 1973.
The report by the National Commission on Materials Policy, various studies commissioned by the Commission to aid it in its deliberations, and reports mandated by the Resource Recovery Act amendments to the Solid Waste Disposal Act provide a wealth of factual information and a number of policy alternatives for Committee consideration.
To extend the scope of the Committee's inquiry and to increase the range of potential policy options, the Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution asked the Congressional Research Service to carry out a few supplementary studies designed (1) to identify the basis on which conflicting projections of mineral resources rest, (2) to describe the economic forces affecting materials flow and recycling, (3) to identify the factors affecting durability of mechanical consumer products, and
(4) to review the major recent reports presently available relating to materials policy.
Three of the four studies were carried out by consultants to the CRS’s Environmental Policy Division. The review of materials policy reports was prepared by Dr. Franklin P. Huddle, Senior Specialist in Science and Technology. The organization of the four reports and preparation of explanatory notes were handled by David E. Gushee, Analyst in Environmental Policy.
The Subcommittee feels that these four studies and the light they shed on the issues involved in resource conservation and solid waste management will be of great utility to both the Committee and its witnesses in hearings on the Solid Waste Disposal Act. To assure the general availability of this important background information, I request that it be published as a committee print. Respectfully,
EDMUND S. MUSKIE, Chairman, Subcommittee on Air and Water Pollution.
History of committee legislation relating to solid waste.
Economics of Recycling, by Talbot Page---
Studies of National Materials Policy, by Franklin P. Huddle---
report of the National Academy of Sciences/National Academy of Engi-
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