Committee Continues Examination of the Chemicals in Commerce Act
WASHINGTON, DC – The Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, chaired by Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), today continued its review of draft legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA), authored by Chairman Shimkus, aims to improve public confidence in the safety of chemicals produced and used in the United States, and to facilitate interstate commerce in American-made chemicals and the products that contain them. The subcommittee reviewed an initial draft of the legislation in March. The subcommittee today reviewed an updated draft, which reflects changes from members on both sides of the aisle, stakeholders, and the administration.
"Since our March 12 hearing on the original discussion draft of the Chemicals in Commerce Act we’ve been working on a bipartisan basis to find common ground. The revised discussion draft before you today contains several significant changes from the earlier version," said Shimkus. "I appreciate all of our committee colleagues who have put so much time and effort into this legislative effort. TSCA reform is neither easy nor simple, and there is still no guarantee that we will succeed in forging a consensus bill this year. All I can promise is my best effort working directly with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to get there."
Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Jim Jones also expressed a willingness to work with members toward reform, stating, "We at the EPA remain committed to working with this committee and others in both the House and Senate, members of the public, the environmental community, the chemical industry, the states, and other stakeholders to improve and update TSCA."
Mark Greenwood, an environmental attorney and former EPA official tasked with TSCA implementation, offered an historical perspective on the current law and discussed the importance of the draft legislation in "setting a new direction for that program." He expressed, "The CICA discussion draft that is before the subcommittee today would achieve important substantive changes to TSCA and would substantially improve EPA’s ability to protect human health and the environment."
President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council Cal Dooley called the updated draft "an appropriate step forward in TSCA reform" and stated, "The CICA will go a long way to making chemical regulation in the U.S. both more effective and efficient. Under the revised discussion draft, EPA, the American public and American manufacturers would have the information they need to make well informed decisions about chemicals in commerce."
Len Sauers, Vice President of Global Sustainability, Product Safety and Regulatory Affairs at the Proctor & Gamble Company, praised the members’ TSCA reform efforts and encouraged the committee to move forward with a solution. "Many hours of member and stakeholder discussions have led to this newest discussion draft of the proposed Chemicals in Commerce Act, which we believe reflects the serious intent of this subcommittee to improve public confidence in our nation’s chemical management system while preserving innovation flexibility and the free flow of U.S. commerce," said Sauers. "The time for action is now. Never before in the 38-year history of TSCA has there been such bipartisan interest in both houses of Congress to modernize the statute."
Full Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) concluded, "This law has not been updated in nearly 40 years. It has been a challenging task, but this draft bill gets us even closer toward our objective of a commonsense law that protects the public health and further encourages our manufacturing renaissance."