Thank you all for being here today. I ask unanimous consent to place into the record my statement, which lays out several reasons I oppose the Udall-Vitter bill. The bill I introduced with Senator Markey, the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, addresses fundamental flaws in the Udall-Vitter bill. Unfortunately, the Republican majority would not permit it to be considered today.
I want to note the presence of Linda Reinstein, Alan's wife, and Trevor Shaefer who are here today, as well as consumer advocate Erin Brockovich, who endorses the Boxer-Markey bill and opposes the Udall-Vitter bill.
It is clear that in its present form, the Udall-Vitter bill fails to provide the public health protections needed and is worse than current law. This bill still does not have the tools necessary to put safeguards in place - even for the most dangerous toxic substances like asbestos. I would like to enter into the record an analysis by one of the leading legal scholars on environmental law who said:
"[T]he Vitter-Udall-Inhofe bill will not make it easier for EPA to regulate harmful toxic substances . . . .When considered in light of its aggressive preemption of state law that would actually remove existing protections in many states, the bill is actually worse than the existing statute from a consumer protection perspective. And the changes to the regulatory standard and the failure to change the standard for judicial review will provide job security for chemical industry lawyers for years to come." [Tom McGarity, University of Texas Law Professor, March 17, 2015]
I have never seen such an unprecedented level of opposition to any bill. I want you to see what that opposition looks like, and I ask my staff to stand up now and show you the names of more than 450 organizations that oppose the Udall-Vitter bill. Some of the groups listed include:
• 8 State Attorneys General (California, Massachusetts, New York, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Oregon, Washington)
• Breast Cancer Fund
• Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization
• Trevor's Trek Foundation
• Environmental Working Group
• Safer Chemicals, Health Families
• Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses
• American Nurses Association
• Physicians for Social Responsibility
• United Steelworkers
Let me quote from some of the letters we have received in opposition to the bill.
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."
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."
EarthJustice had this to say about the Udall-Vitter bill: "[T]he 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."
The Attorneys General from New York, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Oregon and Washington had this to say: "[W]e believe that, rather than bringing TSCA closer to attaining its goal, the draft legislation's greatly expanded limitations on state action would move that goal further out of reach."
Massachusetts' Attorney General says: "On the crucial issue of preserving our state's abilities to protect the health and safety of the citizens within our borders...the bill strays far from a bill that can adequately protect our citizens from the potential risks that may be posed by certain toxic chemicals in commerce."
According to California's Attorney General: "In California's view, this constitutes poor public policy that undermines the fundamental health and environmental protection purposes of TSCA reform."
And California EPA says, "Unfortunately, rather than reforming TSCA to ensure that state and federal agencies can efficiently and effectively work together to protect the public, this legislation takes a step backward from what should be the common goal of achieving strong public health and safety protections under a reformed version of TSCA."