07 March 2007 18:02 [Source: ICIS news]
BALTIMORE, Maryland (?xml:namespace>
Jim Cooper, senior manager for government relations at the Synthetic Organic Chemical Manufacturers Association (Socma), said that despite political changes in the US Congress and the looming influence of the European Union’s (EU) new programme for the registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (Reach), significant changes in US chemical regulations are not likely in the near term.
In last year’s US general elections, Democrats won control of both houses of Congress for the first time in 12 years, and many leading Democrats promised prompt legislative action to reform US chemicals regulations.
However, Cooper does not believe major changes will come from the new Democrat-controlled Congress.
“First of all, there was not a big enough power shift on Capitol Hill, especially on the Senate side,” Cooper said.
Democrats gained 31 seats in the US House of Representatives for a 233-202 majority, what Cooper regards as a relatively narrow advantage in the 435-seat chamber. The Democrats picked up six seats in the Senate, but even with those gains they hold a very thin 51-49 majority.
Some in Congress want changes in the principal
“There will be some hearings but this is not high enough on the priority list in the new Congress for anything to really happen,” Cooper said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Socma-sponsored GlobalChem regulations conference, Cooper said that higher-profile issues - such as global warming, the war in Iraq, healthcare, the budget and homeland defence to name a few - will command time in a wide range of congressional committees, making it difficult to advance other issues such as chemical regulatory reform.
He said that while some in Congress very likely will introduce legislation for a
“For one thing, there are many in Congress who want to wait and see what happens in Europe now with Reach coming into force, to see what happens over the next couple of years in terms of enforcement and economic impact in
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