The American Coatings Association along with more than 65 other organizations belonging to the American Alliance for Innovation (AAI) on Aug. 21 sent a letter to members of the U.S. Senate, urging true bipartisan collaboration to draft a new bill to replace the current version of the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011.
The letter comes in response to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s passage of S.B. 847 in a 10-8 vote along party lines on July 25. Unfortunately, the committee leadership chose to move forward with a bill that did not reflect the input of the Republican Senators or many of the stakeholders on all the very complex issues involved in Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
S.B. 847, The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011, was introduced in April 2011 by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and aims to overhaul TSCA, a 35-year old statute that has served to regulate the chemical industry into the modern era. The Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 would give the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) enhanced 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 has numerous concerns about the current version of the legislation.
Prior to the bill hearing and markup, four Republican senators on the committee — Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN), and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) — sent Sen. Lautenberg a letter noting the lack of real bipartisan collaboration in moving forward with the amendments and markup. The most recent round of negotiations on the Safe Chemicals Act among Republican and Democratic staff began in mid-June, and the Senators’ letter noted that the bi-partisan process was supposed to include starting over with a brand new bill that had greater bipartisan support. However, the committee accelerated action on the bill over Republican dissent, including amendments that don’t do much to make it more reasonable for industry.