Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Industry Groups Say Safe Chemical Act Does Not Include Republican Input

On Monday the Environmental Defense Fund issued a summary of the main provisions of the Safe Chemicals Act and how they "fulfill every detail" of the Industry "10 Principles" for TSCA reform as put forth by the American Chemistry Council. On Tuesday Industry addressed a letter to the Senate disagreeing with that contention, though not specifically rebutting it. The letter was signed by 69 chemical organizations representing "each step in the supply chain."

The basic premise of the letter is that Republican member input was not fully considered in the present Safe Chemicals Act passed out of the Environment and Public Works Committee late last month. The letter notes that "attempts have been made to characterize the current version of S. 847 as a compromise bill that could gain the support of Republicans and industry." The letter goes on to say that "this is not the case for the bill in its current form."

The industry letter confirms that industry "wholeheartedly support the continuation of a bipartisan process to discuss the right concepts needed in legislation to effectively reform the [EPA's] ability to regulate chemicals." Industry does not, however, believe that the current bill accomplishes this goal.

Now that the bill has been passed out of Committee it becomes eligible for a full debate of its merits on the Senate floor by all members of the Senate. Democrats in the Senate have indicated that they are more than willing to bring the bill up for debate, so it would seem that Industry and their Republican representatives in the Senate will have the opportunity to publicly present their views on what they agree with in the bill and what they do not agree with, along with solutions. Given that all stakeholders - Industry, NGOs, public health and environmental advocacy groups, parent groups, EPA and others - have agreed that TSCA needs to be reformed, it seems that the Safe Chemicals Act bill gives all parties the opportunity to move toward that goal.

The EDF comparison between the Safe Chemical Act and ACC "10 principles" can be viewed here.

The ACC "10 principles" document can be viewed here.

Further information on ACC's position on TSCA reform can be viewed on their web site.

Monday, August 20, 2012

New Safe Chemicals Act "fulfills every detail" of Industry's principles for moderning TSCA

Dr. Richard Denison, Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), has "developed a detailed 8-page table that shows, side by side, the principles and the new version of the Safe Chemicals Act, with citations to each specific provision of the Act." The principles in question are the "10 Principles for Modernizing TSCA" issued by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the major trade association for the chemical industry.

According to Dr. Denison, "the alignment is strong" between the "10 Principles" and the provisions in the Safe Chemicals Act proposed by Senator Frank Lautenberg and passed by vote out of committee for discussion and vote in the full Senate. The ACC statement issued following the committee vote indicated that "after a cursory review, we believe the bill is still fundamentally flawed in many critical areas." However, Dr. Denison notes that:

The changes made to the Safe Chemicals Act specifically reflected the input received from all stakeholders, including the converging views that have emerged from several industry-NGO dialogues held over the past 18 months.

He thus reaches the conclusion that "ACC’s complaints are more about politics than about substance."

Denison has provided a PDF link to his side-by-side table that details his comparison of the bill's provisions versus the ACC "10 Principles."

The full blog article by Dr. Denison can be read here.