Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge Smooth Transition for Chemical Safety Reform Implementation in New Administration

In Letter to Trump Transition Team, Senators Call on New Administration to 'Maintain Momentum' on TSCA Reform

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and James Inhofe (R-Okla.), along with Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.)Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.V.)Tom Carper (D-Del.)Mike Crapo (R-Idaho)Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.)Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) sent a bipartisan letter to Vice President-elect Mike Pence in his role as chair of the Presidential Transition Team Executive Committee, urging the new administration to ensure there is continuity in the implementation of the landmark, bipartisan Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. The historic chemical safety law, which was signed into law in June with broad bipartisan support, reforms the badly broken Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 and is focused on protecting children, families and communities from potentially dangerous chemicals. 

As the senators wrote, "TSCA was severely crippled in the 1990s and failed to provide basic health and safety protection for the American public. Uncertainty in the regulatory program also harmed innovation and consumer confidence in everyday products. The reformed law requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make many critical decisions in the first months and years of the program, and the Agency has a crucial role to play in ensuring that the promise of the new law is realized. The updated law also directs the Centers for Disease Control to investigate and respond to potential cancer clusters and improve communication and data sharing between local, state and federal governments. Given that this implementation will overlap with the change of Administrations, we want to ensure there is continuity and continued momentum during this critical phase.”

 

In the letter, the senators stressed the importance of communication between the presidential transition team and the EPA to ensure successful implementation of the critical reform law, which will safeguard public health and the environment and bolster confidence in the marketplace for manufactures and consumers alike. They noted that the EPA yesterday announced ahead of schedule the first 10 chemicals for risk evaluation, as required by the new law.

 

“We want to work with you next year to see this bipartisan law succeed,” the senators concluded. “In order for that to happen, we urge that you begin working with the Agency to communicate on critical steps that are underway and to get a full appreciation of the new law’s deadlines. We urge that you view appointments, funding and staffing to this office with utmost importance. It is essential to maintain momentum during the Presidential transition and in the early months of the new Administration to ensure that this new law is successful."

 

The full text of the letter is available below and here

 

Dear Mr. Vice President-Elect:

 

As you continue the transition process, we want to highlight for you the implementation of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act.  This bill to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976 was signed by the President on June 22, 2016.  The badly needed reforms were widely supported in Congress by a 403-12 vote in the House of Representatives and by voice vote in the Senate with near unanimous support.  The effort took  several years to complete, resulting in the most recent reform of a landmark environmental law since the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments.

 

TSCA was severely crippled in the 1990s and failed to provide basic health and safety protection for the American public.  Uncertainty in the regulatory program also harmed innovation and consumer confidence in everyday products.  The reformed law requires the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make many critical decisions in the first months and years of the program, and the Agency has a crucial role to play in ensuring that the promise of the new law is realized.  The updated law also directs the Centers for Disease Control to investigate and respond to potential cancer clusters and improve communication and data sharing between local, state and federal governments.  Given that this implementation will overlap with the change of Administrations, we want to ensure there is continuity and continued momentum during this critical phase.

 

Having worked to strengthen and pass the Lautenberg Act in order to help protect children and communities from dangerous chemicals, we are now looking to EPA to vigorously implement the new law.  This includes moving expeditiously to identify and address chemicals with the greatest potential impact on public health, especially those affecting vulnerable populations expressly required to be protected in the Act, including pregnant women, children, workers, and other at-risk communities. The EPA announced the first ten chemicals for risk evaluation ahead of schedule.  Successful implementation of this law will also help ensure there is certainty and restore confidence in the marketplace for manufacturers, consumer product producers, and the public.

 

We want to work with you next year to see this bipartisan law succeed.  In order for that to happen, we urge that you begin working with the Agency to communicate on critical steps that are underway and to get a full appreciation of the new law’s deadlines.  We urge that you view appointments, funding and staffing to this office with utmost importance.  It is essential to maintain momentum during the Presidential transition and in the early months of the new Administration to ensure that this new law is successful.

 

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