by Matt Prindiville, NRCM Toxics Project Director
Senator Goodall, Representative Duchesne and members of the Natural Resources Committee. My name is Matt Prindiville, and I’m the Clean Production Project Director for the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM). NRCM is Maine’s leading, membership-supported environmental advocacy organization. We represent over 12,000 members and supporters and promote science-based, solutions-oriented policy on a variety of issues including energy, land conservation, river restoration and preventing toxic pollution.
We support LD 1032, and thank Representative Hinck for bringing this issue to the attention of the committee.
Since we passed the e-waste law in 2004, 13 out of the 16 states that have passed e-waste legislation modeled after Maine’s law have also included annual administrative fees to pay for agency administration of the system, with 6 state laws including the exact fee proposed in this bill.
From what we understand from experience in other states, this fee would raise between $200,000 and $220,000 annually to pay for DEP’s administration of the program. DEP tells us that it takes 2.5 FTEs to currently administer the program. The money raised from this fee would ensure that the e-waste recycling law is self-funded in perpetuity.
It would ensure that DEP’s operational expenses for administration and oversight are covered, and further allow the Department to conduct necessary due diligence exercises to ensure that the law is working as the legislature intended. This includes auditing out-of-state recyclers to ensure that they are complying with the environmentally sound waste-management guidelines in statute; namely, to make sure that they aren’t exporting Maine’s e-waste to China or other developing countries where e-waste is often dismantled under appalling conditions with widespread associated pollution and public health impacts.
The Department is also provides assurance to manufacturers that their products get handled appropriately and that the costs are apportioned correctly and fairly. They provide the necessary oversight to ensure that towns, consolidators, manufacturers and recyclers are meeting their requirements and that the system is working properly.
We believe that the nominal annual fee proposed in the bill is a part of an effective producer responsibility program and standardizes Maine’s law so that it is consistent with best practices for state e-waste legislation.
Thank you for your consideration. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.