Yesterday, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, released her “counterproposal” to the bipartisan Chemical Safety Improvement Act (“CSIA”) to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (“TSCA”). The counterproposal, called the “Boxer Toxic Substances Control Act,” takes the form of a “redline” or amended version of a July 31 draft of the CSIA from Sens. David Vitter (R-LA) and Tom Udall (D-NM). Changes in the Boxer proposal include:
- Strengthens testing requirements for chemical prioritization;
- Specifies storage near drinking water sources as a factor in determining prioritization;
- Authorizes EPA to regulate chemicals in mixtures and articles;
- Removes state preemption provisions; and
- Adds a fee system based on the number of chemicals EPA reviews.
The release of Boxer’s legislation this late in the Congressional session suggests that TSCA reform is unlikely to pass in the current Congress. Sen. Vitter criticized Sen. Boxer for releasing the latest CSIA draft to the press without his consent as “not a good faith effort to reach consensus but a press stunt/temper tantrum.” Sen. Boxer introduced her proposal along with a pointed “critique” [PDF] of the CSIA, finding fault with the CSIA’s long timetables for reviewing high-priority chemicals; “ambiguous and weak” standards for low-priority chemicals; preemption of state laws; failure to “ensure that chemical disposal and unintended releases, like the one in West Virginia, are covered by EPA reviews and regulations”; and lack of a fee system, among other issues.