The loss of federal dollars for meth lab clean-ups has law-enforcement agencies nervous as they scramble to make up for the shortfall while the numbers of small-time meth labs are increasing across the nation, McClatchy Newspapers report. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration notified counties and states Feb. 22 that it could no longer pick up the tab to clean up the dangerous chemicals found in methamphetamine labs.
Since federal funding evaporated, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigations has spent $140,000 to clean up 50 labs. Now that money is gone too – potentially leaving local police and sheriffs to pay the bills. “We’re in a situation that we need Congress to step up to the plate and provide this funding,” said bureau director Greg McLeod. “They’re passing the buck down to us.” When Congress returns next week, the National Sheriffs Association will resume lobbying for funds. Recent congressional appropriations have run about $10 million a year, but the sheriffs think at least twice as much as needed. U.S. Rep. Brad Miller (D-NC), blamed Republican budget cutters, saying they “had no real idea what they were doing, they just cut at random.”