In its ongoing battle to secure Superfund liability relief for scrap recyclers, ISRI launched a new strategy in 1998 called “Operation Breakout,” which separated the ISRI-supported recycling language from the comprehensive Superfund reform legislation.
When Superfund reform failed yet again in 1998, ISRI continued this strategy in 1999 and augmented it by encouraging members to fly to Washington, D.C., to ask their elected officials to support passage of the Superfund Recycling Equity Act. “What a wonderful sight it was … to see more than 130 of your colleagues from 36 states marching on Washington and walking the marble halls of Capitol Hill,” wrote ISRI President Shelley Padnos in Scrap magazine in 1999. “This was truly a phenomenal grassroots effort.” ISRI’s strategy and persistence paid off when President Bill Clinton signed the Superfund Recycling Equity Act into law Nov. 29, 1999, as part of the Senate omnibus budget bill. This victory marked ISRI’s most monumental achievement to date on behalf of the scrap recycling industry. But as Padnos noted at the time, the victory “isn’t the end of anything, but rather the beginning of everything. Passage of the Superfund Recycling Equity Act brings with it the potential for relief from Superfund liability for many of us, but it also carries with it an obligation to comply with current and future laws, rules, regulations, and standards.”