|longer term basis, an offsetting duty
or tax is needed on imported copper if that copper is produced without
environmental controls substantially equivalent to ours. To address this
problem, Congressman James McNulty (D-AZ), and I introduced H.R. 2413,
the Copper Environmental Equalization Act of 1983. This measure would increase
the duty on imported copper to an amount that is equal to the cost advantage
enjoyed by foreign producers not subject to the environmental regulations
in effect in the U.S.
Ways of boosting the demand for Arizona's copper
must be found. Our strategic copper reserves are dangerously low and now
would be a good time to buy. I have introduced a bill, H.R. 2412, to require
the purchase of more copper for the national defense stockpile. But more
stockpiling is clearly not enough. The recent recession cut deeply into
copper demand. A major cure for the copper industry could come in the form
of a sustained economic recovery. However, it is not just the recession
that has hurt the copper industry. Automakers are using less and less copper
to produce a car. Substitutes are being used for copper wire. New uses
for copper need to be found.
One promising area is the nuclear waste containment
program. In the last Congress the Interior and Insular Affairs Committee
authored legislation that sets a timetable and rules for the disposal of
high-level nuclear wastes. In a few years, nuclear wastes will be stored
deep underground at a specially selected site. Depending on the type of
rock formation that is chosen, copper canisters could be used to help contain
the waste. There are a great many advantages to using copper in our nuclear
waste disposal program. Research conducted in Canada and Sweden shows that
copper can provide containment of high-level nuclear waste for hundreds
of thousands, possibly millions of years. This is primarily due to the
non-corrosive characteristics of copper. At a recent Interior Committee
hearing, Energy Secretary Donald Hodel assured the committee members that
copper is being serious looked at for this program.
Just recently, I introduced a bill, H.R. 5369,
which allocates $2 million in fy 85 and $3 million in fy 86 for the Department
of Energy to study and conduct research on the use of copper canisters
for the disposal of high-level nuclear waste. There can be no doubt that
the use of copper in the nuclear waste containment program would be a help:
as many as one million tons could be used. But that's a long-term benefit.
The first canister wouldn't be built for several years and production would
be spread over several more years. Still, it is the type of thing that
will aid Arizona's copper industry.
|Three of the five C's -- Cotton,
Cattle and Citrus -- relate to agriculture. At $1.7 billion
a year, agriculture has moved ahead of copper to become Arizona's third
leading money maker. But Arizona agriculture is facing some real troubles.
Costs in recent years have soared, while prices have stayed steady or slumped.
All across the country net farm incomes have hit the skids.
Many areas of the country were devastated by drought
last year. We, too, have our problems. Water scarcity and tough groundwater
management rules threaten the future of many farms. Development, meanwhile,
continues to gobble up prime farm land, including an estimated 7,000 acres
per year around Phoenix. And financing costs are still high with interest
rates at historically high levels.
Agriculture, of course, is still big business
in Arizona, with 1.6 million acres under cultivation and 31.7 million acres
of range land. In 1981, we had 1.3 million head of cattle, 170,000 hogs
and close to 400,000 sheep. That same year, we produced 1.6 billion bales
of cotton, 22 million bushels of wheat, a million tons of hay and over
13 million cartons of citrus. Production in most areas has shown solid
gains over the past ten years. But there are real limits to future growth.
One limit is the marketplace needed to sell what
is produced. Members of Congress from the sunbelt states have been working
to open up larger foreign markets and last year export credits for the
sale of cotton to Korea were expanded. Also, the administration was urged
to open up more markets to American citrus.
Similar problems are being faced in trying to
expand exports of beef into Japan. The Japanese are the world's biggest
importers of U.S. red meat. And there is room for expansion in their market.
However, Arizona beef that is shipped to Japan faces a stringent quota
system and is also slapped with a high import duty. This control of the
market has kept Japanese beef demand low. By easing these harsh restrictions,
Arizona beef producers could significantly increase their exports.
Progress toward this goal has been made recently.
The U.S. and Japan have come to terms on an agreement that will nearly
double the amount of beef and citrus being shipped to Japan from the U.S.
Still, this is not enough. The National Cattlemen's Association commented
on the agreement (it) "represents progress, but we're still disappointed
that the amount will not be still larger, particularly in view of the way
in which the U.S. opens our markets to the Japanese. We feel they should
grant greater access." I agree. This is not an issue that will be resolved
quickly or easily.