Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Industry Reaction to the House Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010

As noted in my posts over the last few days, Representatives Waxman and Rush formally introduced their Toxic Chemicals Safety Act of 2010.  Initial reactions have been offered by various stakeholders.  Given that all were released before anyone really had a chance to review the bill, they not unsurprisingly reflect the prior positions developed following the discussion draft.

Industry's reaction was mixed and somewhat noncommittal.  The American Chemistry Council, which represents many of the largest manufacturers of chemicals, issued a statement noting that the bill "is a step toward modernization of the nation’s chemical safety laws," but also suggesting that "more effort will be required to develop legislation that protects consumer safety, preserves America’s position as a leading innovator and safeguards American jobs."  The National Association of Manufacturers were more direct in stating their dislike for the bill, stating "“manufacturers are concerned with the direction taken in the Toxic Chemicals Safety Act.  In its current form, the bill hurts manufacturers’ ability to innovate and remain competitive in a global marketplace.  It dramatically expands the scope of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority over every sector of our nation’s economy, sets unrealistic standards and timeframes and puts unnecessary burdens on manufacturers with new and inconsistent statutory requirements."   Similarly, the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates, which represents many smaller and specialty manufacturers, states that the legislation would significantly hamper innovation and impose stringent regulatory burdens on batch, specialty and custom chemical manufacturers - particularly small and mid-sized companies."

No one should be surprised that industry organizations, which had largely indicated support for the modernization of TSCA for the greater part of the last year or two, would express misgivings about the bills when finally introduced.  Obviously after 34-years under the old system, there is hesitancy to jump into something new too fast.  Especially when it could be a significant burden on their memberships.  Given the reaction from industry this would seem to be the final nail in the coffin for passing TSCA reform legislation in this Congress.  With only a handful of legislative days left in the session and a likely rather eventful mid-term election, clearly industry and the minority party in Congress have no incentive or desire to rush a comprehensive bill to passage.  And so there seems to be much work to be done before another version gets introduced in the next Congress beginning January 2011.

Tomorrow I'll take a look at the advocacy community reaction.

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