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June 5, 2014

Inside EPA features B&C commentary in “Democrats’ Proposed Amendment Widens Gap In House TSCA Reform Effort.”

The ACTA Group

“While the Democrats’ changes seek to address many concerns Jones and environmentalists have raised, the redline avoids addressing the issue of whether and to what extent a new federal chemicals management law should preempt state regulation of industrial chemicals. The issue has become particularly fraught in the Senate, where Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer (D-CA) has made protection of California’s extensive chemical regulations in the Senate bill a prerequisite of her support. The House Democrats’ redlined draft bill simply says, ‘Strike [Republicans’] draft bill language, replacement to be discussed.’

“In their June 5 analysis, Bergeson & Campbell, which released the redlined bill, considers the omission ‘notable . . . As preemption has been identified as the most significant stumbling block in the discussion of TSCA amendments, the lack of a Democratic alternative is a significant omission from any serious legislative formulation.’ But, the analysis adds, ‘[t]his omission is forgivable as almost anything the minority Democrats in the House fashion is mostly irrelevant given the partisan rancor and animosity between the parties in this Congress. . . . At the same time, since there is no equivalent ‘Democratic alternative’ that has been seen from the Senate, any alternative legislative text from the House Democrats immediately carries some weight.’