US House panel to take up TSCA modernisation bill

06 November 2013 23:28  [Source: ICIS news]

WASHINGTON (ICIS)--A key House committee said on Wednesday that it will begin consideration of a long-awaited bill to modernise the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in hearings next week.

The House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy said that it will open hearings on next Wednesday, 13 November, on S-1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).

That bipartisan bill, put together by Republican Senator David Vitter of Louisiana and the late New Jersey Democrat Senator Frank Lautenberg, has drawn support from among chemicals industry officials, environmental groups and other stakeholders.

That bill is seen as having the best chance of achieving a major rewrite of the 37-year-old TSCA, which is regarded by industry and environmentalists alike as no longer equal to the task of regulating chemicals in commerce and reinforcing consumer confidence in chemical products.

Congressman John Shimkus (Republican-Illinois), chairman of the subcommittee, said that his panel will take “a thoughtful look at the proposed Senate bill and how it addresses reform of the programme”.

With the death of Lautenberg in June this year, the bill he co-authored with Vitter was seen to suffer a setback in the Senate. 

With Lautenberg, a long-time and aggressive advocate of tough regulations for chemicals, out of the picture, observers on the Hill wondered whether any other Senate Democrat would be willing to back the Lautenberg-Vitter bill with the same credibility that Lautenberg could have brought to the debate.

With the passing of Lautenberg, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman Barbara Boxer has indicated that she wanted to put the Lautenberg-Vitter bill aside and start from scratch.

That could set back hopes for a compromise bill getting through Congress before the midterm US congressional elections in November 2014.

Paul Hodges studies key influences shaping the chemical industry in Chemicals and the Economy

By: Joe Kamalick
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