For the second time in three weeks, coating manufacturers are working to head off expansion of the Environmental Protection Agency’s authority.
The Border Center
|The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would revise the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.|
At issue this time is a Senate bill that would expand the EPA’s authority over the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976.
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847) was approved, 10-8, on a party-line vote July 25 by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
The American Coatings Association, which represents manufacturers, and other business groups across a wide variety of industries have been watching the bill closely since Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced it in April 2011.
Now, alarmed by the measure’s progress, the groups are calling for it to be ditched and redrafted.
Lack of GOP Input Charged
ACA and the other groups, members of a coalition called the American Alliance for Innovation, say the current bill does “not reflect the input of the Republican Senators or many of the stakeholders on all the very complex issues involved in” TSCA.
ACA describes AAI as “a coalition of 100 industry associations interested in TSCA modernization.”
ACA said that before the bill hearing and markup, four Republican senators on the committee—James Inhofe (OK), David Vitter (LA), Lamar Alexander (TN), and Mike Crapo (ID)—sent Lautenberg a letter, “noting the lack of real bipartisan collaboration in moving forward with the amendments and markup.”
According to ACA, the letter said that negotiations on the bill, which began in June, were “supposed to include starting over with a brand-new bill that had greater bipartisan support.”
“However,” ACA said, “the committee accelerated action on the bill over Republican dissent, including amendments that don’t do much to make it more reasonable for industry.”
The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would expand the EPA’s authority to manage chemicals and increase chemical manufacturer and processor obligations to provide EPA with toxicity and use information through new risk-based safety standards.
ACA reports “numerous concerns” about the measure and notes that there is no companion bill underway in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
ACA says it supports drafting a new bill so “we can all benefit from a successful and efficient chemical regulatory system that protects American families and our nation’s ability to innovate, compete, and grow.”
“ACA believes that a legislative approach for chemicals management must ensure appropriate action on the part of the regulatory agency and the regulated community, and, in particular, be based on sound science and protective of health and the environment.”
Chemical Security Bill
In August, ACA threw its support behind a new federal bill that would bar the EPA from regulating chemical facility security.
Introduced Aug. 2 by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), the General Duty Clarification Act (H.R. 634) followed a petition by dozens of environmental and labor groups that are seeking new rules by EPA.
Pompeo’s bill would leave chemical facility security under the exclusive jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), not EPA. The bill has been referred to House Energy and Commerce Committee for consideration.