Whether you think the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) needs to be “reformed,” “modernized,” “updated” or simply left alone, you’re probably interested in knowing where Congressional efforts to amend the statute currently stand. Here’s a short update, which is based on our latest understanding. If others have additional details or insights, please feel free to share them with us here at Verdant Law.
Supposedly Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) has agreed to set aside his current version of the Safe Chemicals Act (S.847) and attempt to achieve consensus with his Republic colleagues on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. Although Senator Lautenberg introduced S.847 in 2011 and has not introduced a similar version in 2012, the bill has remained somewhat of a centerpiece in the negotiations with other EPW Committee members.
While Senator Lautenberg is the leading Democratic negotiator, Senator David Vitter (R-LA) is leading the Republicans’ efforts. Senators James Inhofe (R-OK, Ranking Committee Member), Mike Crapo (R-ID, Ranking Subcommittee Member), and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) are also playing key roles.
Negotiations are supposed to continue over the summer. Around Labor Day, the parties will decide whether to attempt a bipartisan markup of S.847 in Senator Lautenberg’s Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health Subcommittee, whether a markup is premature but negotiations should continue, or whether to terminate further negotiations for the remainder of the year. Presumably if negotiations terminate, Senator Lautenberg might reintroduce S.847 and attempt passage in the last weeks of the current congress. Republicans would probably oppose it, but may not be in a position to introduce a viable competing bill.
We at Verdant Law think it’s highly unlikely that consensus will be achieved and a bill passed and signed into law before the November election. However, perhaps this summer’s efforts will point the parties in a direction that eventually leads to a workable solution. (One can dream, right?) Stay tuned.