Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Boren Votes to Clean Up Meth Labs

U.S. Congressman Dan Boren, a member of the bipartisan Caucus to Fight and Control Methamphetamine, voted today in support of legislation to help rural communities clean up meth labs and the toxic mess they leave behind. Boren, who has been a leader on federal meth policy since he was first elected to Congress in 2004, is an original cosponsor of H.R. 365, the Methamphetamine Remediation Act of 2007, which passed the House of Representatives 426-2.

"Oklahoma has led the nation in reducing the number of meth labs in our rural communities," Boren said. "But the dangerous chemicals and fumes they leave behind can cause health problems for years after the labs are gone, and affect everyone in the area if they're not properly dealt with."

H.R. 365 will require the Environmental Protection Agency to develop voluntary guidelines to help law enforcement officials clean up these labs, and ensure every community has the knowledge and tools they need to reduce the public health risk.

"There is no silver bullet to address the meth epidemic," Boren said. "There will always be people who choose to harm themselves by using and manufacturing this dangerous drug. This bill aims to protect the innocent people whose lives are endangered by these illegal activities."

There were more than 12,500 meth lab seizures in the United States in 2005. Due to state legislation passed in 2003, Oklahoma's share of meth labs has decreased significantly. In 2003, there were 894 meth lab seizures in the state. That number was down to 217 in 2005. But according to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency, methamphetamine remains "the primary drug of choice in Oklahoma"

"We have to fight meth on all fronts," Boren said. "Helping local communities protect the public from the harmful toxins that are left behind when a meth lab is shut down is an important part of that."

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