Monday, March 29, 2010

Is TSCA Chemical Control Reform Ever Going to Happen?

Last year at this time Senator Lautenberg intimated that a new Kid Safe bill that reforms the 34 year old Toxic Substances Control Act was "imminent." The same word has been used many times since then, and still no bill has been introduced, though several House and Senate hearings have been held in recent months.

The latest is that the bill will be introduced by Senator Lautenberg sometime after the Congressional recess that starts today and runs through April 9th. Congressman Rush will introduce a mirror bill in the House. Given the current timing, it seems possible that the bill might be held a couple of more weeks for an April 22nd (Earth Day) introduction.

But introduction of the bill doesn't mean it will pass this year. Already much of Congress has shifted into campaign mode for the November elections, and with the likelihood of significant Republican seat gains in both houses, there seems to be little incentive for the minority party to speed things up on TSCA reform. Likewise, many Democrats are wary of any effort that might be negatively impact their reelection campaigns. In recent remarks to the Environmental Council of the States (ECOS), the head of the EPA toxics office, Steve Owens, suggested that it was "unlikely" that much would happen on any bill now introduced, even though both industry and advocacy groups are pushing for "modernization" of TSCA.

More info tomorrow!

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