Senator Lautenberg Introduces the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011


Source: EPA
Related Topics: Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)

Last Thursday, April 14, Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847), a bill that would significantly amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).  It is similar to the one he introduced last Congress, the Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 (S. 3209) with tweaks intended to address some industry concerns.  The bill was co-sponsored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who chairs the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Al Franken (D-MN).

Lautenberg held a hearing back in February entitled, “Assessing the Effectiveness of US Chemical Laws” signaling his continued commitment to the issue, despite the challenges he will ultimately face advancing it in this Congress.  With new Congressional priorities and a change in the political landscape, TSCA reform will likely not get the attention it did the past couple of years.  It is also doubtful Lautenberg will find a requisite republican co-sponsor to his legislation.  As presidential primary season approaches prospects for reform could look even dimmer.

Up to this point a broad range of stakeholders have basically agreed that the statute needs to be updated.  They have not, however, been able to forge much further than high level principles for reforms.  There may be an opportunity for a piecemeal or targeted approach to reform as some House republicans have alluded. But still, the issue continues to evolve and will likely require more time to develop.

Senator Lautenberg released a video explaining the reasoning behind the Act, which can be viewed here.  To view his press release click here.

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