CenturyLink recently joined a coalition of 18 companies and associations in signing a strong letter of support for federal metal theft prevention legislation introduced by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in late February. The Metal Theft Prevention Act of 2013, S. 394, would make metal theft that harms critical infrastructure a federal crime and create oversight of scrap metal dealers in states that do not already have documentation of ownership rules.
“Metal theft is a persistent problem that plaques businesses in a wide array of industries, threatens public safety and causes great harm to communications, utility and transportation infrastructure,” wrote the trade associations representing electric utilities, building contractors, retail centers and police chiefs, as well as CenturyLink, Home Depot, Lowe’s and telecom industry partners Windstream Corporation, XO Communications, the United States Telecom Association and the Independent Telephone and Telecommunications Alliance.
In addition to the financial costs of restoring critical networks, “metal theft has endangered lives and posed serious threats to public safety,” the letter states. For example, by stealing metal from telecommunications lines, thieves have severed communities and first responders from access to emergency 911 services. Likewise, by stealing wiring from streetlights and electrical substations, metal thieves have left highways and communities in the dark and left residences and businesses vulnerable.
“Most states have enacted laws specifically addressing metal theft, but it is important that federal law and the federal government complement the efforts of state and local authorities. We are pleased to see the multi-faceted approach of your legislation and believe it would decrease the prevalence of metal theft, thereby protecting critical infrastructure, promoting public safety and saving money and valuable resources across the economy,” the letter to Sens. Klobuchar and Graham states.
CenturyLink looks forward to working with Congress, our coalition partners, and state and local officials to quickly strengthen laws and give law enforcement agencies more power to prohibit and deter metal theft.