Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is a Washington, D.C., law firm providing biobased and renewable chemical product stakeholders unparalleled experience, judgment, and excellence in bringing innovative products to market.

On September 18, 2014, Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW) Chair Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) issued a statement containing links to Senator Boxer's counterproposal to and critique of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform draft bill being developed by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM). The statement is available online.


Senator Boxer expressed strong concern over the proposed safety standard, timelines for U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) actions, victim's rights, and state pre-emption. Senator Boxer's rejection of the revised reform bill means that TSCA reform will likely not occur this year.


Senator Boxer's latest statement is consistent with statements she has made in hearings over the last year. BRAG has reported on those hearings. A copy of BRAG's report from the July 2013 Senate EPW Committee hearing on TSCA reform is available online.


Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) has prepared a more detailed summary and analysis of Senator Boxer's counterproposal to and critique of the draft Vitter-Udall TSCA reform bill. A copy of this summary is available online.
 


 

Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) has created an online hub for news, information, and commentary on Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) reform that is available at http://www.TSCAreform.org. B&C's lawyers, scientists, regulatory specialists, and business consultants relentlessly participate in and track developments regarding ongoing TSCA reform efforts and related state regulatory initiatives such as California's Safer Consumer Products Regulations and related developments under the Green Chemistry Initiative.


www.TSCAreform.org contains constantly updated links to commentary, analysis, articles, and regulatory documents to help those in the chemical producer and downstream chemical products industries understand what they need to know about TSCA reform, and what it means to their business.
 


 

On March 12, 2014, the House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee held a hearing to discuss the Discussion Draft of the Chemicals in Commerce Act (CICA). CICA, which was released last week by Subcommittee Chair John Shimkus (R-IL), is designed to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The Biobased and Renewable Products and Advocacy Group (BRAG™) reported on the release of CICA. That report is available online.


Eleven witnesses testified at the hearing. Several witnesses were critical of CICA, stating that it offered less protections than those included in S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), which is the bipartisan Senate TSCA reform bill introduced last May by the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA). Senators Vitter and Tom Udall (D-NM) are currently working to revise S. 1009 to address concerns that have been raised over that bill's level of protection. A detailed summary of the hearing prepared by Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) is available online.
 


 

It is reported that House Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on the Environment and Economy Chair John Shimkus (R-IL) is working on draft legislation to reform TSCA, which Shimkus expects to introduce and on which he expects to hold a hearing in the coming weeks. B&C has issued a memorandum providing an overview of the Subcommittee's fifth hearing on TSCA reform held on February 4, 2014. The memorandum is available online.


There is a renewed sense of urgency for TSCA reform to be completed this year in the wake of the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia last month, and the recent announcements that House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring this year and that Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is running for Governor of Louisiana. Representative Waxman is a champion of environmental issues and may view accomplishing TSCA reform important before he leaves, especially since it appears unlikely that a bill to address climate change -- one of his most passionate issues -- will pass this year. Senator Vitter is the co-sponsor of the Senate's bi-partisan TSCA reform bill, S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA). B&C has issued a memorandum providing an overview and analysis of CSIA. The memorandum is available online.
 


 

On February 4, 2014, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy held its fifth hearing this term on potential reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). The Subcommittee is working on drafting its version of a TSCA reform bill. This latest hearing focused on potential reforms to Sections 4 and 8 of the law. TSCA Section 4 covers when and under what circumstances the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may require chemical substances to be tested, and TSCA Section 8 authorizes EPA to keep an inventory of potentially harmful chemicals.


Seven witnesses representing the gamut of stakeholders -- from the chemical and healthcare industries to environmental groups -- testified at the hearing. Generally, chemical industry stakeholders stressed the need for any new TSCA requirements on industry to be limited in scope and focused on the most harmful chemicals. On the other hand, environmental stakeholders urged the expansion of EPA authority to require chemical testing, among other things.


Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. has issued a comprehensive summary and commentary on the hearing, which is available online. There is a renewed sense of urgency for TSCA reform to be completed this year in the wake of the chemical spill into the Elk River in West Virginia last month, and the recent announcements that House Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring this year and that Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is running for the Governor of Louisiana. Representative Waxman is a champion of environmental issues and may view accomplishing TSCA reform important before he leaves, especially since it appears unlikely that a bill to address climate change -- one of his most passionate issues -- will pass this year. Senator Vitter is the co-sponsor of the Senate's bi-partisan TSCA reform bill, S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA).
 

Tags: TSCA reform, CSIA,

 

On February 4, 2014, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works' Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife held a hearing on "Examination of the Safety and Security of Drinking Water Supplies Following the Central West Virginia Drinking Water Crisis." A full list of witnesses is available online.


Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) spoke at the hearing and stressed the need for reform of TSCA in the wake of the January 9, 2014, chemical spill in West Virginia. Senator Udall has been working closely with Senator David Vitter (R-LA) to make improvements to CSIA (S. 1009), the Senate's bi-partisan TSCA reform bill. Senator Udall suggested that much needed information on the health effects of 4-methylcyclohexane, the chemical which spilled into West Virginia's Elk River, would be available if CSIA were enacted.
 


 

On January 28, 2014, the pro-safer chemicals coalition Safer States released a report in which it found that "at least 33 states are considering policies [to enhance chemical safety]. Some would change disclosure rules for manufacturers, so that concerned consumers will know what chemicals are in their products. Some would phase out the use of chemicals like bisphenol A, formaldehyde and toxic flame retardants." The report is available online.


There is increased momentum for chemical safety legislation in the wake of the January 9, 2014, chemical spill in West Virginia. Several bills have also been introduced at the federal level to increase chemical safety and security. In particular, the Chemical Safety and Drinking Water Protection Act of 2014 was introduced this week (see above). The bill will strengthen states' ability to prevent chemical spills. Additionally, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA) was introduced last year to reform TSCA. CSIA has been criticized for having weak state preemption provisions. B&C has issued a summary of both bills, which are available here and here.
 


 

As the new year begins, there are several predictions on the path for reform of TSCA. The vehicle for reform is expected to be S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), bi-partisan legislation introduced last year by Senator David Vitter (R-LA), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), and the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Senator Vitter and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) are now working to move CSIA forward through the legislative process. A Law360 article recently published by Lynn Bergeson contains a detailed discussion of the significance and provisions of this legislation. With 25 bipartisan co-sponsors, CSIA is a "potentially politically viable framework for TSCA reform and renewed hope that badly needed modernization of this ancient law may occur."


Recently, Senator Vitter stated publicly that he expects to be able to move CSIA through the Senate toward passage this year. That task will face challenges. CSIA, or any TSCA reform legislation, will need to first pass the Senate EPW Committee. Its Chair, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), is seeking amendments to limit CSIA's preemptive effect with respect to tougher state chemical laws like California's Proposition 65 and the Safer Consumer Products Regulations.
 


 

On Wednesday, November 13, 2013, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on CSIA, a bill to reform TSCA. CSIA was introduced earlier this year by Senator David Vitter (R-LA) and the late Senator Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ). Senator Vitter and Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) are now working to move CSIA forward through the legislative process. A Law360 article recently published by Lynn Bergeson contains a detailed discussion of the significance and provisions of this legislation. With 25 bipartisan co-sponsors, CSIA is a "potentially politically viable framework for TSCA reform and renewed hope that badly needed modernization of this ancient law may occur."


The hearing included three panels of nine witnesses and focused on CSIA and potential reform to TSCA. A detailed memorandum on the hearing issued by B&C is available online.


Senators Vitter and Udall are working to address concerns about CSIA raised during a hearing held in July 2013 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on TSCA reform. The BRAG report on that hearing may be found online.
 


 

On September 18, 2013, the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce held a hearing on "Regulation of Existing Chemicals and the Role of Pre-Emption under Sections 6 and 18 of the Toxic Substances Control Act." This was the third hearing in a series held by the Committee on the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). It comes at a time when the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) is also considering TSCA reform, including S. 1009, the "Chemical Security Improvement Act" (CSIA). Senate EPW Chair Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has indicated that preemption is an important issue and that she wishes to ensure that any TSCA reform protects state laws, including California's Proposition 65, the state's law regulating unsafe chemicals.


Bergeson & Campbell, P.C. (B&C®) has issued a detailed summary of the hearing, which is available online.
 


 
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