Even while Congress is in recess this week, the cause of reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) continues to progress. Notably, the New York Times Editorial Board is calling for stronger regulation of chemicals by requiring and empowering EPA to evaluate “at least 20 high-priority chemicals a year of its own choosing.” The editorial describes the current TSCA reform proposals in Congress as “a substantial improvement” while simultaneously decrying the bills’ failure to provide “speedy evaluations of the most worrisome chemicals among tens of thousands that have never been tested for safety.” The Times notes the “remarkable feat” of attracting 20 Republican and 20 Democratic co-sponsors to the Senate bill, but criticizes the legislation’s “slow pace of designating high-priority chemicals that require safety assessments.” The editorial also claims that under the House proposal, EPA would be tied up with conducting industry-initiated assessments instead of “chemicals the agency might regard as posing the highest risk.”
Meanwhile, Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) formally introduced his bill, the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576), on Tuesday. The legislation’s initial co-sponsors are Representatives Fred Upton (R-MI), Frank Pallone (D-NJ), and Paul Tonko (D-NY). The bill was unanimously approved by the House Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy earlier this month.