Friday, July 16, 2010

House TSCA bill release delayed until next week

On Wednesday I noted that the US House of Representatives was expected to release the formal version of their TSCA reform bill this week. But the full responsible committee was tied up in Mark Ups of other bills all day yesterday, so the formal release is now planned for next Thursday, July 22nd.

A committee hearing is tentatively scheduled for the following Thursday, July 29th, and will be officially announced when the bill is introduced.

In April the House had released a "discussion draft" to coincide with the introduction of Senator Lautenberg's Safe Chemicals Act of 2010 bill. As previously noted, a series of stakeholder meetings were held following the discussion draft, and all stakeholders will be very interested to see how much of their input was incorporated into the formal bill. A good faith effort to acknowledge stakeholder concerns will help passage of the bill.

Though when that will happen is anyone's guess. It is highly unlikely to happen this session of Congress with control of possibly both houses uncertain, as I noted in a previous commentary. But no matter which party is in control of Congress, there is at least public support from all stakeholders to modernize the 34 year old law - industry to avoid a patchwork of state regulations and advocacy groups to strengthen EPA's ability to require data be submitted.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

National Research Council to Release New Report on Climate Stabilization Targets Tomorrow!

On Friday, July 16th, at 2 pm EDT, the National Research Council will release a new report called Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia, which draws on the most current science available to quantify the relationships between emissions, concentrations, warming, and future impacts. The report examines the implications of a range of different greenhouse gas emission levels being discussed, including likely impacts and the potential for serious or irreversible climate changes.

According to the NRC announcement, the public is invited to join a web seminar and teleconference highlighting the report's findings presented by Dr. Susan Solomon, chair of the report's authoring committee and senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder, Colorado. Following Dr. Solomon's presentation, there will be a brief question and answer session.

Though separate from their previous series of reports, tomorrow's report is related to the America's Climate Choices program.

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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Six Chemicals in Draft Proposal to be Added to REACH Authorization Annex

The European Commission has drafted a proposal to amend Annex XIV of the REACH regulation. Annex XIV lists the substances which are subject to the authorization requirements. For those who have followed The Dake Page, all of the substances listed in the various candidate lists (and upcoming ones) are in line for the authorization phase should manufacturers or importers choose to support continued limited uses pending development of replacements.

The six chemicals proposed in the draft include musk xylene, MDA, HBCDD, DEHP, BBP and DBP into Annex XIV.

After the "sunset date," these substances would only be eligible to remain on the market for specific uses, and only for those specific operators who have applied for and been granted an authorization in accordance with REACH.

More in the coming days. Lots of US TSCA related activity.