Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Hazardous and Additional Waste Export and Import Act of 1991 - Declares that the purpose of this Act is to implement the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal. Amends the Solid Waste Disposal Act to make it unlawful to export from, or import into, the United States any hazardous or additional waste, except as provided by this Act. Excludes from the definition of "export" and "import" any:
(1) transport for the purpose of disposal of hazardous or additional waste in compliance with a permit issued under the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act;
(2) discharge of hazardous or additional waste subject to regulations under the Act to Prevent Pollution From Ships; and
(3) any transboundary movement of hazardous or additional waste generated or managed exclusively by U.S. Government activities or facilities abroad or on board U.S. aircraft into an area under U.S. jurisdiction, provided that such waste is not unloaded before reaching an area under U.S. jurisdiction.
Excludes from the provisions of this Act (except for prohibitions concerning the Antarctic Treaty Area):
(1) specified waste exported or imported for recycling;
(2) source, special nuclear, or byproduct material defined by the Atomic Energy Act of 1954 that is excluded from the definition of solid waste;
(3) spent nuclear fuel; and
(4) hazardous or additional waste that when mixed with such materials or fuel is subject, as a result of being radioactive, to other international control systems.
Makes the prohibition inapplicable to exports or imports of hazardous or additional waste made pursuant to and in compliance with:
(1) an existing bilateral or regional waste export or import agreement between the United States and the government of an exporting or importing country;
(2) specified provisions of the Solid Waste Disposal Act governing the export of hazardous waste; and
(3) a bilateral or regional waste export or import agreement entered into after the enactment of this Act if such agreement requires environmentally sound waste management and compliance with applicable Federal laws.
Makes it unlawful to export or import hazardous or additional waste if the waste will not be managed in an environmentally sound manner and in accordance with laws of importing and transit countries and the United States, applicable State programs, and contract provisions.
Requires exporters to provide notice of proposed exports to the President for forwarding to importing and transit countries.
(1) consent of such countries must be obtained prior to exporting;
(2) waste generators must make efforts to, and document efforts to, minimize generation of such waste; and
(3) a contract between the exporter and importer must exist prior to commencing the export.
Requires exporters and generators, within 60 days of receiving information that a shipment of waste has not been delivered to the facility designated in the notification or managed as specified in the contract, to:
(1) accept legal and financial responsibility for arranging for the acceptance of waste by an alternative facility and deliver the waste to such facility;
(2) return the waste to the United States; or
(3) notify the President that they decline to accept responsibility because such information is unreliable or invalid.
Sets forth steps that the President may take upon receipt of such notice.
Directs exporters to comply with financial responsibility requirements of the United States and of importing and transit countries.
Authorizes general notification and consent procedures for multiple shipments of the same waste to the same disposer via the same customs offices.
Requires importers, prior to importing hazardous or additional waste into the United States, to notify and obtain the consent of the President. Sets forth requirements for importers with respect to contracts, legal and financial responsibility, and general notification and consent procedures that are parallel to those for exporters.
Authorizes the President to:
(1) determine the procedures by which waste may be managed abroad or imported into the United States; and
(2) exempt an individual shipment of waste by an executive branch agency from compliance if in the interest of the United States. Prohibits the importation of hazardous or additional waste into the United States for transit without the notification and consent of the President. Sets forth notification requirements.
Authorizes the President to issue orders prohibiting the export or import of waste by a particular source, shipment, or class where there is reason to believe that:
(1) the exported waste would not be managed in an environmentally sound manner;
(2) the management of imported waste would be in violation of Federal laws or State programs; or
(3) exports or imports may not be in accordance with contracts, bilateral agreements, or international obligations of the United States. Permits the issuance of emergency orders to prohibit the export or import of waste by a particular source, shipment, or class from or to a specific country for up to 45 days where:
(1) the waste may present an imminent endangerment to health or the environment; or
(2) the importing or exporting country requests emergency actions in support of enforcement efforts related to such waste.
Authorizes the President to:
(1) arrange for the disposition of wastes that are not delivered and to recover costs from liable exporters and generators; and
(2) restrict waste exports or imports to designated U.S. ports.
Makes it unlawful to export hazardous or additional waste for treatment, incineration, storage, disposal, or recycling to locations south of 60 degrees south latitude (the Antarctic Treaty Area). Sets forth annual reporting requirements for waste importers and exporters.
Provides for the imposition of fees on such individuals.
Prescribes civil penalties and authorizes civil actions in connection with specified violations of this Act. Provides for criminal penalties for certain knowing violations.
Subjects property used in violation of this Act to forfeiture.
Sets forth financial responsibility requirements with respect to the illegal exportation or importation of waste.
Applies provisions of the Solid Waste Disposal Act governing the export of hazardous waste to additional waste.
Amends the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act to prohibit dumping of material transported from outside the United States (except in compliance with a permit) into the Exclusive Economic Zone of the United States (currently, a zone contiguous to the U.S. territorial sea).
Prohibits the issuance of permits for dumping in the Antarctic Treaty Area.