Tuesday, October 5, 2010

While Congress Waffles on TSCA, the White House Pushes for Ratification of International Chemicals Treaties

I have talked before about the three international treaties of which the United States originally signed on for but for which Congress has yet to ratify.  And it's been a while, folks.  So while Congress busily punts on TSCA reform at least until next year, the Obama White House has decided to push for ratification.

And the White House's point person in the Senate is none other than Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who has spearheaded the effort to introduce (and reintroduce...and reintroduce) the ever evolving [Kid] Safe Chemical Act. 

The main reason to ratify the three treaties - Stockholm Convention on POPs, Rotterdam Convention on Prior Informed Consent, and Long Range Transboundary Air Pollution POPs Protocol - is because we don't have a seat at the table.  Okay, that's not quite right.  We have an "observer" seat at the table, and representatives can be quite vocal in pressing their point.  But when it comes time to vote the US has to sit back and let everyone else decide what happens to us.  We're not powerless, but we're also not as persuasive as we could be if they have to take our vote into consideration.

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your point of view, ratification of these treaties will likely also go nowhere until after the election, and then the new Congress (perhaps, very new Congress) may have a different take on the political versus scientific advantages of active participation that ratification would provide.

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