Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Formal House TSCA Bill Expected This Week

As previously discussed, Representatives Waxman and Rush have been having meetings with stakeholders on the TSCA reform "discussion draft" introduced in April. It appears they are ready to introduce the formal bill on July 15th. A hearing on the bill the following week is likely. What happens to it after that is less certain.

Expect to see several changes from the discussion draft to incorporate the input from industry, advocacy groups, EPA and others. All stakeholders are looking for a good faith effort on the part of the House committee staff to insert their feedback. Key stakeholders, including EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, are likely to testify at the hearing.

But then what? In all likelihood, not much. There are only a handful of legislative days left before the mid-term elections and no one seems to be in the mood to do much legislating until then. Most are eager to get back to their districts and commune with voters in an effort to hold onto their seats. With anti-incumbent fever running pretty hot in the electorate, many legislators are hoping for some home-grown remedies.

Given the strong likelihood that nothing will pass this session, the House and Senate bills would have to be reintroduced in the next session of Congress, beginning in January 2011. And all parties are aware that major gains by the Republican party could have significant impacts on the final look of the bills, in particular if the current minority party gains the majority in either the House or the Senate (or both).

Based on the current status of things I would be very much surprised if the current bills, which lean more toward the advocacy group positions, don't migrate significantly toward more industry-friendly final bills in 2011. Which likely means that there will not be an across-the-board data call-in for all chemicals a la REACH. More likely there will be a focused data call-in on chemicals identified as priorities based on specific characteristics like persistence, bioaccumulation and toxicity (PBT) and/or likely carcinogenicity, mutagenicity or reproductive toxicity (CMR), or widespread consumer use and exposure.

More commentary after the bill is introduced.

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