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Hearing Summary of “Strengthening Public Health Protections by Addressing Toxic Chemical Threats”
What the witnesses, U.S. Senators, and Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg are saying about the Chemical Safety Improvement Act
July 31, 2013

Bonnie Englebardt Lautenberg said, "In the last few months of his life, Frank did something that has become all too rare in Washington: he negotiated bipartisan legislation to solve a major problem facing our country. Frank worked with Senator Vitter to develop the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, a bill that would, for the first time, require testing of the tens of thousands of chemicals that are used in everyday products." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Statement, 7/31/13)

Lautenberg: "Frank was proud of his work on this new bill. In fact, after a meeting with Senator Vitter, Frank told me that this bill would be bigger and could save more lives than his law to ban smoking on airplanes."

Lautenberg: "That is why I am pleased, Chairman Boxer and Ranking Member Vitter, that you are holding this hearing today, toward the goal of working out a committee agreement on the Chemical Safety Improvement Act. Reforming our chemical laws would improve the lives of people across the country for generations to come. Protecting children and families is the legacy that Frank worked toward throughout his career. Passage of this bill would be a wonderful cap to his career and testament to his legacy."


Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) tweeted, "At 25 Democratic & Republican cosponsors, #CSIA bill has the most bipartisan cosponsors of any environmental bill before #EPW"

Udall: "I was a cosponsor of the original Lautenberg chemical bill - the Safe Chemicals Act. I believe that bill was also an improvement to current law, but that bill and discussion over it stalled for too long. That bill didn't have what this one does - bipartisan acceptance. At 25 Democrat and Republican cosponsors, this bill has the most bipartisan cosponsors of any environmental bill before this Committee." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Statement, 7/31/13)

Udall: "It would for the first time mandate safety reviews for all chemicals currently in commerce."


Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said, "[Senator Lautenberg] entered into these negotiations, with all his years of experience, skills, and wisdom, because he knew that it was time to craft a bipartisan TSCA reform bill. To suggest otherwise, and to attack the integrity of such a strong defender of public health, is something that should offend all Americans." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)

Manchin: "Some have said this bill is worse than current law. That is just another cheap attempt to try to distort the tireless work that Senator Lautenberg gave to this bill."

Manchin: CSIA will require safety evaluations for both new chemicals and the thousands of currently untested chemicals we encounter daily. It will allow the EPA to take meaningful action against chemicals that pose a threat to human health and safety. And it will allow state and local governments to weigh-in on the whole process. I'd like to talk a little more about that last statement. CSIA balances state authority within a greatly strengthened federal system that will allow industry to produce safer chemicals nationally. It also forces the federal government to finally step up and protect the health and safety of all Americans, including those in smaller states like West Virginia, where there are just not sufficient resources to test and regulate the chemicals that need to be regulated."


Former Obama EPA Assistant Administrator Stephen Owens said, "The introduction of S. 1009, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act (CSIA), in May by a bipartisan group of Senators was a major breakthrough in the years-long effort to strengthen chemical regulation and protect the public from unreasonable chemical risks. As the EPA Assistant Administrator charged with TSCA's implementation, I had first-hand experience with TSCA's many shortcomings." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)

Owens: "I think the CSIA is a significant improvement over current TSCA with all the problems we've experienced over the years."


Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) said, "CSIA compromise is a good framework." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Opening Statement - Rush Transcript, 7/31/13)


Dr. Jonathan Borak of the American College of Occupational And Environmental Medicine
said, "CSIA specifically addresses concern about vulnerable populations, most notably children, and also pregnant women and their fetuses." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)


Maureen Gorsen, Former Director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control
said, "Having a strong federal program that will address every single chemical currently in commerce can only enhance the California program, and allow California to focus on those 3-5 chemical/product combinations that impact California's environment and public health more particularly." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)

Gorsen: "It will most definitely help the rest of the nation who has yet to arrive at this new era of environmental law."

Gorsen: "All existing California laws will continue to be in force and in effect as the bill never preempts an entire law. To the extent that the bill contains strong federal preemption, it only extends to how a state can regulate an individual chemical in TSCA-like ways, and the specific scope of that preemption will be decided by EPA on a case-by-case, chemical-by-chemical basis. Thus, the preemption on any and all existing state law and regulation will be decided by EPA and customized by EPA in their safety determination."


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
tweeted, "I'm committed to continuing the work of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who led the way on regulating toxic chemicals to protect our families. #TSCA."


Michael A. Troncoso, Senior Counsel to the California Attorney General said, "Having a more comprehensive, rigorous testing program at the federal level is a good thing." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Verbal Testimony - Rush Transcript, 7/31/13)


Former EPA Assistant Administrator Linda Fisher
said "I hope all interested stakeholders recognize just how much progress this bill represents, and the tremendous opportunity we have to move TSCA reform forward in a bipartisan way this year using this bill as a vehicle." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)


H. Michael Dorsey, Chief of Homeland Security and Emergency Response in West Virginia said, "CSIA is the most viable chance to fix TSCA that has come along in my career." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)

Dorsey: "Notwithstanding the programs in California, Washington, and a few other locations, most of the country--West Virginia included--lacks the resources and/or personnel to develop and implement chemical testing programs of their own. Because of this, we look to the federal government to perform that important work for us."


Chemical Safety Attorney Mark Duvall said, "The CSIA significantly expands the roles of states in EPA's decision-making under TSCA. Today, States have at most a peripheral role in EPA's implementation of TSCA. Their role would not be greater under the Safe Chemicals Act. In contrast, the CSIA makes States important contributors to EPA's implementation of TSCA." (Senate Committee On Environment And Public Works Hearing, Written Testimony, 7/31/13)

Duvall: "[T]he CSIA does not preempt any reporting requirements.... this means that most state green chemistry laws will not be affected. Nor does it preempt any State statutes based on federal law, such as the Clean Air Act."

 

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July 2013 Press Releases

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