In Historic Markup, Committee Passes Bills to Ban Asbestos, Reverse Bush Rollback on Toxics, and Speed Environmental Waiver for California and 12 Other States
Panel Also Approves Wildlife and Infrastructure Bills, Nominations, Army Corps Resolutions
July 31, 2007

Washington, DC – The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today approved landmark bills banning the importation and use of asbestos; reversing the Bush Administration’s rollback of rules requiring polluters to fully report releases of toxic chemicals; and requiring the Environmental Protection Agency to issue a decision on California’s request for a waiver to regulate global warming pollution from cars.

U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, today made the following statement:

Senator Boxer said: “Today is a truly historic day for the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and the legislation we moved today will save lives, protect families and communities, and advance the fight against global warming.

“Today, we turned the page on a painful chapter in our nation’s history by reporting a bill that will finally ban asbestos and assist people who suffer from the deadly diseases it causes.”

“We reversed a Bush Administration order that increased the level at which crucial information on toxic releases must be reported to nearby communities. For years, the reporting threshold was 500 pounds, but the Bush Administration increased the threshold to 2000 pounds. Our bill returns the reporting threshold to 500 pounds.”

“Passage of the Nelson-Boxer waiver bill sends a signal that EPA should stop stalling and act now on California’s request so California and 12 other states can begin setting and enforcing standards on carbon emissions from the transportation sector.”

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Below is a complete list of the measures passed by the Environment and Public Works Committee today:

· California waiver decision deadline bill, S. 1785 (Nelson, Boxer et al. manager’s substitute amendment, with technical correction)
· Ban Asbestos in America Act, S. 742 (Murray, Isakson, Boxer et al. manager’s substitute amendment)
· Toxic Right to Know Protection Act, S. 595 (Lautenberg et al.).
· National Infrastructure Improvement Act, S. 775 (Carper, Voinovich et al. manager’s substitute amendment).
· The Captive Primate Safety Act, S. 1498, (Boxer, Vitter et al.)
· African Elephant Conservation Act and the Rhinoceros and Tiger Conservation Act of 1994 reauthorizations, HR 50
· Asian Elephant Conservation Act of 1997 reauthorization, HR 465
· Army Corps Resolutions
· Bill to reauthorize the provision of technical assistance to small public water systems, S. 1429 (Inhofe et al.)
· Nomination of Robert Lance Boldrey nominee for reappointment to the Board of Trustees for the Morris K. Udall Scholarship and Excellence in National Environmental Policy Foundation
· Nomination of Robert Lyle Laverty to be Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, U.S. Department of the Interior

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