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July 9, 2015

TSCA Reform:  House Passes TSCA Modernization Act:  Senate to Consider TSCA Soon

The ACTA Group

On June 23, 2015, the House passed the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) by a vote of 398-1. The House Committee on Energy and Commerce issued a press release on June 22, 2015, noting that the bill “would bring much-needed reform to the decades-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), and is a true bipartisan breakthrough for the committee.” According to the press release, support “has poured in for this bill as it works to improve the protection of human health and the environment.” The House considered H.R. 2576 under suspension of the rules procedure. Debate was limited and amendments could not be offered. Under suspension of the rules procedure, two-thirds of the Representatives voting must support the bill for it to pass.

The version of the bill linked to The Leader’s Weekly Schedule was amended since the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reported the bill on June 3, 2015. Changes in the June 18, 2015, version of H.R. 2576 included:

  • Changing the deadline for completion of manufacturer requested risk evaluations from three to two years. Other risk evaluations (those based on the “may present” determination, or those included on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Work Plan) still have the three-year deadline.
  • If EPA receives more manufacturer requests than it has resources to handle by the deadline, EPA shall start those risk evaluations when resources are available and shall not collect the fee until it begins the risk evaluation.
  • Section 26(b)(3)(D) concerning “Use of Funds by Administrator” has been reworded to clarify and make the point that the fees authorized shall be collected and available for obligation only to the extent and in the amount provided in advance in appropriations Acts. Under the revised text, the amounts available for use must be approved in advance by Congressional appropriation bills, thus imposing a fiscal limitation on EPA. Prior versions of the bill might have allowed EPA to use the fee amounts without any consideration of whether Congress had actually appropriated such usage of fees.

More information regarding the June 3, 2015, bill is available in our memoranda TSCA Reform: House Committee Passes Amended TSCA Modernization Act and TSCA Reform: Detailed Review of the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 Considered in Markup by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

The Senate is expected to take up TSCA legislation before its August 2015 recess. On April 28, 2015, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works passed the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act (S. 697).