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A proposal to let industry in North Carolina handle its own hazardous waste was disputed Wednesday by a state official who said federal law prohibits it.

``There's a kernel in there that we all have to look at,' said Linda Little, executive director of the Governor's Waste Management Board. ``There is probably some need for contingency plans ... if we can't get our site in place.'Marvin Krieger, a retired economics professor from Statesville, said Tuesday the government should let industry handle its own waste. That would give businesses a chance to make money from hazardous waste, Krieger said.

But Little said state and federal regulations prohibit storage on an industrial site as a permanent way to dispose of hazardous waste.

``I think it's a good idea for industries if they have the capability to manage their waste on site but many industries do not have that capacity, especially small companies,' she said.

``They do not have the capability to manage their waste on site. One of the reasons for all these laws was to keep companies from holding it on site.'

But she said there wasn't ``going to be any sympathy for keeping waste in storage for over a year if there's a technology for dealing with them. If the waste can be incinerated, and the EPA has said that the best available technology is incineration, then you're not going to get permission to hold those wastes for longer than a year.'

The waste management board is a planning and policy agency.

State and local governments would give companies tax breaks and other incentives to help them store and reuse waste on site, he explained. Businesses that produce hazardous materials would be encouraged to locate near each other. Entrepreneurs would have easy access to large concentrations of the substances.

Krieger's plan also allows companies to store waste temporarily at state and regional sites. State sites would be provided for seven to 10 years. Industries could use regional storage areas for 10 to 25 years.

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