Taking a complete view of preemption and TSCA reform

As support grows for the bipartisan effort to reform our nation’s chemical regulatory system, it’s important that we take an objective and honest look at the role of federal preemption can play when it comes to successfully updating the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).

In a four-page article published in the American Bar Association’s Natural Resources & Environment journal, ACC Assistant General Counsel Judah Prero examines the questions concerning preemption and TSCA reform.

He takes on several assumptions and misinterpretations by explaining that TSCA is not like traditional environmental statutes, “TSCA regulates the manufacture, processing, distribution, and use of chemicals in products. Because most products are distributed nationally, product regulation may significantly impact interstate commerce. A logical regulation method would be to take a national approach to regulating chemicals in products that are distributed nationwide, or chemicals in commerce.”

Prero’s article drives the most important point home – that without effective federal preemption, confidence in our nation’s chemical management system would only further erode. “Without federal preemption,” Prero writes, “a modernized TSCA would create more uncertainty than it would resolve.”

He leaves readers with one last important observation, “When the discussion of TSCA modernization moves from the political to the practical, perhaps significant advancement of the proposals will occur.”

Fortunately, we do have a practical solution before us today that would establish a strong, balanced national system for managing the safe use of chemicals. Thanks to years of negotiations and input from Democrats, Republicans, businesses, environment and public health groups, scientists, doctors, and public officials, bipartisan proposals have been introduced in Congress to bring chemical oversight up to date.

We encourage anyone with a shared interest in being a constructive part of efforts to reform our nation’s chemical management system to support the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” S.697, in the U.S. Senate and ongoing work around the “TSCA Modernization Act of 2015” in the U.S. House.

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