We are here today to rally for S. 725, the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act and against S. 697, the Udall-Vitter bill.
Our bill will regulate - and in some cases phase out - the most dangerous chemicals out of the 80,000 in existence today. Of these chemicals, more than 1,000 present significant public health impacts and require priority attention. The Boxer-Markey bill's formula guarantees action on hundreds of these dangerous chemicals: the Udall-Vitter bill only provides for the assessment of just 25.
The impacts of these chemicals include cardiovascular disease, development disorders, respiratory disorders, neurological disorders, endocrine disruption, and many others.
The Boxer-Markey bill directly addresses one of the most dangerous chemicals known to humankind - a chemical that takes 10,000 lives a year - asbestos. Their bill doesn't even mention the word asbestos, and experts say that regulation of asbestos under the Udall-Vitter bill will never happen.
We specifically address children's cancer clusters and chemicals that build up in your body - known as persistent bio accumulative and toxic chemicals. Again there is no mention of this in the Udall-Vitter bill.
We allow the states to continue their extraordinary work to protect their people. That is a stark difference from the Udall-Vitter bill, which eviscerates the rights of the states to act to protect their people, as many Attorneys General will tell you.
Our bill is endorsed by more than 450 environmental and health organizations. Those organizations oppose the Udall-Vitter bill. Let us hear what they say about the Udall-Vitter bill.
Ken Cook, President and Co-Founder of the Environmental Working Group (EWG), said this: "This chemical industry proposal is worse than the current law. It fails to meet even basic criteria for effective reform that protects our children's health."
EarthJustice had this to say about the Udall-Vitter bill: "The chemical industry got exactly what it wanted-again."
The Director of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families, Andy Igrejas, said: "Firefighters, nurses, parents of kids with learning disabilities and cancer survivors all still oppose this legislation."
According to the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, "The fact that the Vitter-Udall bill will not even restrict, much less ban, the deadly substance that claims 30 lives a day is nothing short of a national travesty. Any Senator who supports this industry proposal is in essence supporting the continuation of the toll asbestos has already had on millions of American families."
And the Breast Cancer Fund said this: "The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act . . . undermines what few health protections from toxic chemicals now exist . . . It advances the interests of the chemical industry and disregards years of work by health care professionals, scientists, public health advocates and state legislators to enact meaningful reform and to prevent diseases linked to chemical exposure."
To be 100% candid and direct, their bill has been generated by the chemical industry itself. We received the final draft of the Udall-Vitter bill by email from Senator Udall a few weeks ago. It was represented to be their draft that they intended to use at the legislative hearing, subject to a few additional changes. It is clear from the computer coding that the final draft bill originated at the American Chemical Council itself. I can show that to you right here.
Maybe I am old fashioned, but I do not believe that a regulated industry should be so intimately involved in writing a bill that regulates them. The voices of public health and safety organizations that speak for our citizens must be heard. Their views should not be drowned out by the very industry that is supposed to be regulated.
I loved Frank Lautenberg very much, and it is with very deep respect and a heavy heart that I make these statements about the bill that has been named after him. But I remember when Frank said this: "It's time to take action on TSCA reform and put an end to the chemical companies' political games." (1/22/13)
The Boxer-Markey bill is true reform. The Udall-Vitter bill, while having a beautiful name, is a product of the chemical companies.
- VT Attorney General Letter Opposing Udall-Vitter - 20150318VTLetterreS697.pdf (347.3 KBs)