Jul 29, 2012

Senate Committee Passes TSCA Reauthorization Legislation via @enviroexpert

In a largely symbolic vote along party lines, on July 25, 2012, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by a 10-8 vote passed an amended version of Senator Frank Lautenberg's (D-NJ) Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847). Despite the Committee's passage of the bill, the legislation faces a headwind of opposition from Senate Republicans and the chemical industry and is unlikely to be passed this year. Republicans criticized the scheduled markup of the Safe Chemicals Act, particularly in light of Lautenberg's earlier agreement to enter into bipartisan negotiations to create a 'fresh legislation proposal' to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Senator James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member, entered a statement criticizing the Safe Chemicals Act as currently drafted. The amended bill is available online. An archived webcast of the Committee's hearing and Inhofe's statement are available online.

One of the pillars of the legislation is a revamped chemical evaluation process. This would be launched by an update of the TSCA Inventory of existing chemicals that supporters of the legislation believe will better refocus the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) energy on priority chemicals. Once the Inventory is updated, EPA would assess chemicals on the updated Inventory over an extended period of time by creating batches of about 6,000 chemicals for review, each over a five-year period. Within each batch, EPA would identify chemicals that are either of very high concern (which would require expedited risk management) or very low concern (which would require no further action). EPA would also identify chemicals that require additional safety information and those that require a safety standard determination. For the latter category of chemicals requiring a safety standard determination, EPA would focus its resources first on the highest priority chemicals. Risk management, such as use restrictions or labeling, would be required where necessary to ensure a chemical meets the safety standard. If a chemical cannot meet the safety standard, only critical uses of that chemical would be allowed.

Please continue reading at: