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Bipartisan Support for Overhaul of Toxic Chemical Regulation

close-up of man wearing white protection suit, gas mask and rubber gloves, stop gesture

there is clear consensus that the chemical industry needs a safety overhaul.

In June 2015 the House will be considering a bill that will reassess the manner in which toxic chemicals are regulated. The passage of this bill through the legislature has been complicated by lobbyists and millions of dollars in donations. Despite the fact that lawmakers on both sides of the isle are promoting their own agendas vis-à-vis pipelines and climate change, there is clear consensus that the chemical industry needs a safety overhaul.

The Toxic Substances Control Act

Forty years ago the TSCA (Toxic Substances Control Act) was passed. And since that time there has been no federal ban or regulation of chemicals. What has transpired is the passage of state laws to regulate certain chemical substances, and chemical processes. According to the TCSA Modernization Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would have greater authority for the testing of chemicals (new and old) and states would have a harder time to enact more stringent legislation.

The passage of this bill is far from a done deal, however. Next in line is the Senate version of the bill, but several bills failed to make their way through Congress previously. One of the key changes in the legislative arena has been that of Democratic Senator Tom Udall. Once a fierce environmentalist, he has switched positions and is now being supported by big players in the chemical industry.

Senator Tom Udall

Senator Tom Udall

Rewriting Toxic Chemical Rules

While the chemical industry is by no means a single entity, it is a massive industry with powerful players. During 2014 alone, the industry spent almost $65 million lobbying politicians in Washington D.C. The chemical industry in the U.S. also spent upwards of $12 million donating money to campaigns, political action committees, and political parties. All these initiatives are geared towards rewriting the rules and regulations regarding the treatment of toxic chemicals in the industry.

4 Comments

  1. Becky Brooks says:

    Glad to see we are moving in the right direction toward regulation of chemicals.

  2. simon weild says:

    The reality is there will always be a conflict of interest under a system based on the profit motive. The capitalists are not concerned about the environmental impact in the short or long term. Their primary concern is profit and this will always be at the expense of the environment and public health. The big owners dictate the laws indirectly and directly through lobbying and their puppets in government.

    The only solution is for the economy to be planned democratically and harmoniously with the planet.

  3. Chris Willie says:

    Toxic waste are a major issue for everyone. We all got to realize that environment is suffering after the impact caused by the anthropic actions.

  4. Karen's Green Acres Edibles says:

    It’s good to read articles such as these that give us some hope that our country is moving in the right direction and becoming responsible in the manner in which it produces and used chemicals. I would be interested to follow up and see where this company is heading in regards to this article.

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