||[Press Release for the Recycle Congress Campaign, September 27, 2000.]|
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Lance King (703) 241-4927
Hastert Target of New Ads
Groups echo plea of 12-year-old girl, saying
"Dear Mr. Speaker, Please make Congress recycle"
27, 2000) - Echoing the plea of twelve-year-old
Becky Hollenbeck of Aurora, Illinois, environmental groups announced
today that advertisements targeting House Speaker Dennis Hastert
call for immediate action to bring Congress into compliance
with federal laws applying to all Americans.
Full-page newspaper advertisements in the Beacon News (Aurora,
IL) and The Hill (Washington, DC) take aim at failed recycling
efforts in the U.S. House of Representatives, costing taxpayers,
the environment and worker safety.
Friends of the Earth, GrassRoots Recycling Network, Earthjustice
Legal Defense Fund, and Chicago-based Sustain are coordinating
the 'Recycle Congress' campaign launched last week.
The new ad features a picture of Becky Hollenbeck at a Capitol
Hill news conference, with the headline "Dear Mr. Speaker, Please
make Congress recycle." A letter signed by 76 national, state
and local organizations to Speaker Hastert printed in the advertisement
highlights alleged violations of worker safety and environmental
laws by Congress.
"We want action by Speaker Hastert before Congress adjourns
to correct fundamental problems in the recycling program. The
House Leadership broke its promise to abide by laws that apply
to all Americans, needlessly endangering worker safety, damaging
the environment and wasting taxpayer dollars," GrassRoots Recycling
Network Spokesman Lance King said.
On May 26 1998, the Architect of the Capitol was cited for violations
of Section 215 of the Congressional Accountability Act, which
requires compliance with Section 5 of the Occupational Safety
and Health Act. Problems in trash sorting and baling areas for
paper recycling in the Rayburn House Office Building led to
the first-ever citation issued by the Congressional Office of
Compliance, within the Office of General Counsel.
More than two years later, the House of Representatives is still
in violation of OSHA, based upon information the GrassRoots
Recycling Network obtained from AFSCME, Office of Compliance
records and officials working for the Architect of the Capitol.
"We believe Speaker Hastert needs to hold Architect of the Capitol
Alan Hantman and House Superintendent of Buildings Bob Miley
responsible for these continuing violations of federal law.
Speaker Hastert has so far failed to come to grips with these
and other violations of law during his tenure as Speaker of
the House," King said.
"Congress operates one of the most poorly managed recycling
programs in the nation. Needless contamination kept taxpayers
from receiving revenue for 71 percent of the paper collected
for recycling last year," King said.
Taxpayers lost at least $300,000 last year on recycled paper
due to contamination by glass, metals, plastics and hazardous
waste, the GrassRoots Recycling Network concluded after a months-long
independent investigation. Loses over the last 5 years likely
cost taxpayers millions of dollars.
"Congress caught on video," produced by the Chicago-based environmental
information organization Sustain, documents recycled paper contamination,
trashed recyclables and worker safety problems. The tape was
made during a July 2000 tour of House Offices arranged by Congressman
Sam Farr (D-CA). It includes interviews with Congressman Lloyd
Doggett (D-TX), Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), and
former House Recycling Coordinator Pat Dollar.
The House Republican Leadership blocked efforts to improve the
recycling program in June 1999, by using a procedural point-of-order
to strip mandatory recycling requirements from the Fiscal Year
2000 Legislative Appropriations Bill during debate on the House
"Speaker Hastert is responsible for the conduct of the House.
Neither Hastert nor the Committee on House Administration, which
oversees the Architect's work, have taken effective action to
correct the safety and recycling program problems in the 15
months since floor debate on the appropriations bill," said
"The clock is running out for the 106th Congress. It is long
past time for the House to act. While House Republicans stand
by making feeble excuses, the Senate Appropriations Committee
recently acknowledged problems in the recycling program and
directed the Architect to make specific improvements. But Architect
Hantman's office continues to drag their feet as they have for
the past 5 years," King concluded.
For more information visit www.RecycleCongress.org