AFPM '14: Outlook brightens for long-delayed update to TSCA

30 March 2014 02:33 Source:ICIS News

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (ICIS)--The outlook for updating the nation's chemicals control regulations have reached their most promising level in about 15 years, an executive with the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM) said on Saturday.

The 38-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) is something that both industry and the environmental community agree is badly out of date and in need of major modernisation.

Bills to do just that have emerged in the US House of Representatives and the Senate.

This recent round lacks the confrontational atmosphere that characterised previous attempts to update TSCA, said Jim Cooper, senior petrochemical advisor for AFPM.

He made his comments on the sidelines of the International Petrochemical Conference (IPC).

The bills arose from dialogue among the groups that have a stake in the outcome of TSCA reform, Cooper said.

"The atmosphere is different this time around," he said. "We now have a dialogue that is realistic, and we are pretty excited about."

Cooper has not seen this type of atmosphere since he began working on TSCA reform in 1999.

This progress does not mean that the bills are perfect, Cooper said. "We've got a ways to go, but we are going to be right in the middle of it."

On a related issue, the AFPM has also been keen to promote pre-emption, which refers to the ability of federal laws to pre-empt state laws, which can be quite disparate, Cooper said.

This is a key consideration for the manufacturing industry, he said. The industry's supply chain is not limited to a specific region to the country.

"This is an interstate commerce issue as much as it is an environmental issue," Cooper said. "Without strong pre-emption, we are going to have a mishmash of different laws state by state."

Such different laws could have a ripple effect throughout the supply chain of the manufacturing industry, Cooper said.

Hosted by the AFPM, the IPC takes place 30 March through 1 April in San Antonio, Texas.

Additional reporting by Joe Kamalick

By Al Greenwood