Washington, DC - Today the Environment and Public Works Committee approved bipartisan legislation, S. 76, the Strengthening Protections for Children and Communities From Disease Clusters Act, to help communities determine whether there is a connection between "clusters" of cancer, birth defects and other diseases, and contaminants in the surrounding environment. S. 76, which was introduced in January 2011 by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Mike Crapo (R-ID), passed by a vote of 11-7.

The legislation is supported by several environmental and public health organizations, including the Evangelical Environmental Network, the Children's Environmental Health Network, the Breast Cancer Fund, the Sierra Club, the Center for Health, Environment & Justice, the National Disease Clusters Alliance, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.

The Committee also unanimously approved the nominations of William C. Ostendorff to be a member of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and of Richard C. Howorth to be a member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The EPW Committee held a nomination hearing for both nominees on May 25, 2011.

S. 76 and the nominations will now go to the full Senate for consideration.