Opening Statement of Senator James M. Inhofe
Chairman Lautenberg, I am very pleased to see you here today and am glad to know you are feeling well.
As we consider legislation aimed at modernizing the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), Congress must avoid creating new burdens that hurt consumers and the economy. This principle is especially important today, as the economy continues to struggle and unemployment remains near 10 percent. So, thank you for having this hearing, mister chairman. It is critical that we listen to private sector concerns and consider ideas from the business community. I'd like to request that the written statement of the American Chemical Council be entered into the record.
TSCA regulates thousands of basic chemicals and compounds-chemicals that are the foundation of our way of life, and on which our economy, health and welfare depend. I believe that TSCA is a fundamentally sound statute. But, it is 30 years old and the science of chemical risk assessment has evolved. As you've heard me say before, I am open to the idea of modernizing the Act.
The chemical industry has set out principles for reform. And, in previous hearings, I also laid out principles. Let me say this again: in order for me to accept changes to TSCA, the revisions must be based on risk assessment using the best available science; must include cost-benefit considerations; must protect proprietary information; and must prioritize reviews for existing chemicals.
I have high expectations that the perspectives we hear today will focus on sound science, risk-based decision making and prioritization of review. Let it be known, however, that I do not want to hear suggestions that create artificial advantages favoring one sector over another-in other words, please do not give us ideas that create an uneven playing field among companies or products, or cause economic harm to consumers.
I look forward to hearing from the witnesses on their productive and constructive ideas for reforming TSCA. Welcome to the Committee.