Lautenberg and Inhofe Will Hold Stakeholder Meeting on TSCA Reform
Senators Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Superfund, Toxics, and Environmental Health, and James Inhofe (R-OK), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, announced that their staffs will co-host on June 21, 2011, the first of several stakeholder meetings concerning reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Lautenberg introduced the Safe Chemicals Act of 2011 (S. 847), which is intended to modernize TSCA to require chemical companies to demonstrate the safety of industrial chemicals and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to evaluate safety based on the best available science. The meeting on June 21, 2011, will focus on chemical safety standards. Topics for future meetings and stakeholders who will be invited are not publicly available.
The most interesting element of this new development is that Senator Inhofe’s office is a co-host of the meetings. This might represent a genuine desire on the part of Senator Inhofe’s office to determine if there is a possibility of a bipartisan agreement regarding TSCA reform. If this results in some movement towards consensus, then there may be hope for some kind of legislative action in this session of Congress. Even with substantial progress, however, the effective window for significant legislation of any kind is rapidly closing as jockeying for the next Presidential election will begin to loom large by early Fall.