This news update focusing on TSCA modernization is brought to you by The National Law Review.
With the release of a February 27, 2014 discussion draft for a bill to be known as the“Chemicals in Commerce Act” (“CICA”), the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has reentered and potentially reinvigorated discussions on modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). The discussion draft was unveiled by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Chairman of the Environment and the Economy Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce (“HEC”) Committee.As drafted, the CICA would make substantial changes to regulation of chemicals in the United States. However, it is already raising some controversy.
The House draft legislation marks a significant event in the years-long series of efforts to reform TSCA, the core provisions of which have remained unchanged since the law’s enactment in 1976. TSCA modernization has been on the legislative radar for a decade. From 2005 through April 2013, a number of bills to overhaul U.S. chemicals management were introduced, all by Democrats. These efforts were led largely by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the Senate, and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) in the House. The most recent Democratic TSCA bill was the Safe Chemicals Act (“SCA”), S. 696, introduced by Sen. Lautenberg in April 2013. The SCA has 28 co-sponsors, all from the Democratic caucus. For more information and analysis of the SCA, see our previous client alert.
The game changed in May 2013 with the introduction, again by Sen. Lautenberg, of the bipartisan compromise Chemical Safety Improvement Act (“CSIA”), S. 1009. See our previous client alert on the CSIA here. The CSIA currently has 25 co-sponsors, 13 Republicans and 12 Democrats. Sen. Lautenberg passed away in June 2013, and the bill has since been shepherded by its main Republican sponsor, Sen. David Vitter (R-LA), and Senator Lautenberg’s successor as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health of the Senate Environment & Public Works (“EPW”) Committee, Tom Udall (D-NM). The EPW held a hearing in July 2013, focusing on issues of contention such as the scope of federal preemption of state chemical restrictions, the safety standard, data requirements, and deadlines. While EPW Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has expressed continued support for the SCA and opposition to the CSIA as currently written, the bipartisan CSIA is seen as the most politically viable vehicle for possible TSCA modernization. Revisions to the CSIA are anticipated, although the timing is unclear.
For more information on TSCA modernization, please visit THe National Law Review link above. Please contact Nexreg for Regulatory Services.