Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) is expected to release today a discussion draft of his bill to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Rep. Shimkus, the Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy, announced that he will discuss the draft with reporters tonight, and that he will work to build support with House Democrats, who were not involved in the bill’s development. Although the Subcommittee has held five hearings on TSCA, this proposal would be the first House legislation on the issue, while the Senate has considered two bipartisan bills this year. Rep. Shimkus said that he would hold two hearings on his legislation.
It is not yet known how the House proposal compares to the leading bipartisan Senate bill, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA, S. 1009). Industry insiders expect Rep. Shimkus’ bill to resemble the CSIA, which some House Democrats have said they would not support in its current form. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), a vocal critic of certain provisions of the CSIA, acknowledged that she has had good communication with Rep. Shimkus on his bill, but is still looking for agreement on state preemption issues. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), who is working with CSIA cosponsor Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) to amend the Senate bill, says that “significant changes are happening” to the CSIA to gain support from critics like Sen. Boxer, and an updated version will be released soon.
Earlier this month, Rep. Shimkus told Bloomberg BNA that he expected the Subcommittee to approve his proposal by mid-March and to bring the bill before the full Energy Committee in late spring or early summer. At the time, Rep. Shimkus said the legislation would address three main issues: preemption of state regulations; industry concerns about protecting confidential business information; and the prioritization of new chemical reviews.