August 10, 2015

From The Mailbag: Chemical Safety Legislation

Guest column submitted by U.S. Senator Mike Crapo

As active participants in the decisions made in Congress, Idahoans contact me with valuable input about the issues our country faces.  Realizing that many may not have the chance to contact me, I post the top five issues of concern from Idahoans and my responses on my website.  Idahoans have contacted me regarding Chemical Safety and the Toxic Substances Control Act.  The following is my response:

Senator Tom Udall (D-New Mexico) introduced S. 697, the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act on March 10, 2015.  This legislation seeks to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, which governs how chemicals are regulated by the federal government, in addition to setting record-keeping and testing requirements.  Specifically, S. 697 seeks to identify and prioritize the screening of chemicals actively used in commerce, and assess the safety of chemicals strictly based on their impact to human and environmental health.  Further, this legislation would facilitate greater cooperation between federal, state and local municipalities in regulating chemicals in commerce.  I am a co-sponsor of the legislation.  On April 28, 2015, S. 697 was favorably reported out of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee with my support by a vote of 15-5.  The legislation now awaits further consideration by the full Senate.

TSCA is the only environmental statute never to receive a significant congressional update.  Absent necessary reform, outdated regulations have created uncertainty for state and local regulatory bodies and the American public's confidence that the chemicals in commerce are being used safely.   

Achieving TSCA reform will require Congress to work in a bipartisan manner and with all affected stakeholders.  Broad agreement has existed for many years, by both public health advocates and chemical manufacturers, that the law is in need of an update, and I am encouraged by the support this compromise legislation has enjoyed thus far.  I am committed to protecting the health and safety of Americans and support efforts to improve the framework for regulating chemicals within the U.S.  It is important that we effectively target our efforts to produce a workable regulatory regime that protects health and safety and does not compromise competition, innovation and job creation.  As such, please be assured that I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to achieve these goals.

To view responses to the top five issues of interest, please visit my website at: http://crapo.senate.gov.  The messages you send me help to shape my approach on a number of important matters.  Please continue to keep me informed of your views.  

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