Earlier this summer, key Democratic and Republican Senators re-stated their commitment to create a new, bipartisan approach to updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It was a welcome development, led by Republican Senators Inhofe, Vitter, Alexander, and Crapo.
Before that process could get fully underway, Senator Lautenberg abruptly chose to move forward on a bill that failed to embody the input of the Republican Senators he agreed to work with on a new approach to update TSCA.
Now, a large and diverse group of American businesses is calling on the Senate to support a fresh approach that will garner bipartisan support for legislation to effectively modernize TSCA.
EPW Vote Not Bipartisan
On July 25th, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held a last-minute markup of S. 847, Senator Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act (SCA), and voted along party lines to approve the bill.
In their letter to Senate leadership, more than 60 business groups expressed their disappointment in the bill’s sponsors for acting prematurely:
Attempts have been made to characterize the current version of S. 847 as a compromise bill that could gain the support of Republicans and industry. For our industries, this is not the case for the bill in its current form. We wholeheartedly support the continuation of a bipartisan process to discuss the right concepts needed in legislation to effectively reform EPA’s ability to regulate chemicals. We believe that S. 847 as reported by the EPW Committee does not accomplish this goal.
SCA Not A Compromise Bill
There have been misleading characterizations of the SCA as a compromise bill this week. Some claim that industry viewpoints, including ACC’s principles for modernizing TSCA, were somehow reflected in the revised Lautenberg bill.
While the revised bill on its face appears to focus on key areas that are of critical importance to updating TSCA, it is clear that many trade groups and numerous Senators are still concerned the bill voted out of committee will fail to deliver in practice.
Industry Committed to Fresh Approach
Senator Vitter, along with other Republicans, have made it clear that they would like to move forward on developing sound, science and risk-based legislation, and that they would like to work with members of the Democratic caucus on new legislation.
We are serious about continuing to move forward on updating TSCA, which is why ACC, along with the other groups that signed onto the letter, are committed to supporting this effort to help create a workable and efficient chemical program that ensures the safe use of chemicals and protects our nation’s ability to innovate, compete on the global stage, and create U.S. jobs.