Thursday, May 23rd, 2013
Yesterday in Washington, D.C., Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) announced they had reached what is being termed a groundbreaking agreement to revamp the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Indeed, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA) that they have introduced in the Senate is groundbreaking in several ways.
Despite widespread agreement that TSCA was not an effective solution to the testing of tens of thousands of chemicals found in consumer and industrial products, the Senate had been deadlocked for roughly the last two decades on how to test and regulate them.
Not only does the CSIA look ready to break that gridlock, it comes with significant bipartisan support, which everyone knows is very difficult to obtain for anything in today’s political climate. Besides Senators Lautenberg and Vitter, there are 14 other Senators co-sponsoring the Act, seven Republicans and seven Democrats. All told there are eight Senators from each side of the aisle sponsoring this long-needed reform.
Add to that the reaction from the business sectors that stand to be most impacted by the proposed Act, which has been broadly and strongly positive. William R. Carteaux, President and CEO of SPI: The Plastics Industry Trade Association issued the following statement regarding the introduction of this legislation:
“On behalf of SPI members and the entire U.S. plastics industry, I want to thank Senators Lautenberg and Vitter, as well as the other cosponsors, for the leadership and determination they have displayed in crafting a groundbreaking, bipartisan bill. The legislation is a true milestone, and shows that the charged political environment inside the beltway need not take a back seat to consensus building.
“SPI has long advocated TSCA updates that embrace 21st century scientific and technological advances, while enhancing the ability of the U.S. plastics industry to develop and utilize essential materials. The Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 encompasses a broad spectrum of stakeholder viewpoints, and I am hopeful that its introduction will usher in a new era of cooperation in the collective pursuit of TSCA modernization.”
Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) was equally positive in his statement: “The business of chemistry creates the building blocks for 96 percent of all manufactured goods and is a key driver of the U.S. economy. Reforming TSCA in a way that supports safety, jobs and innovation is important for American consumers, U.S. chemical producers and American businesses of all kinds, as well as their workers. These principles are at the foundation of the CSIA.”
The co-sponsors of Lautenberg-Vitter “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013″ include U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), and John Hoeven (R-ND).