Washington (June 8, 2016) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Superfund, Waste Management and Government Oversight subcommittee, hailed Senate passage of comprehensive legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act. The “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” will now go to President Obama to be signed into law.
Below is a statement from Senator Markey:
“For a generation, the American people have been guinea pigs in a terrible chemical experiment. Told that all the advances in our chemistry labs would make us healthier, happier, and safer, American families have had to suffer with decades of a law that did nothing to ensure that was true. That is because when the industry successfully overturned the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed ban on asbestos, it also rendered the Toxic Substance Control Act all but unusable.
“Our children and our families shouldn’t be unwitting scientific subjects. Today, we have a chance to protect them by reforming this failed law.
“Congress stands ready to reform the last of the ‘core four’ environmental statutes, and is doing so with more bipartisan support than any major environmental statute in recent American history.
“As Ranking Democrat on the Senate subcommittee of jurisdiction, I was one of a handful of members who participated in an informal conference with the House of Representatives. In our work with the House, we truly did take the best of both bills when it came to enhancing EPA’s authority to regulate chemicals.
“The degree to which states will be preempted as the federal government regulates chemicals has been a source of considerable debate since this bill was first introduced.
“I have always been a very strong supporter of states’ rights to take actions needed to protect their own residents. And for many members of Congress, accepting preemption of our states was a difficult decision that we only made as we also secured increases to the robustness of the EPA chemical safety program.
“I am particularly pleased that efforts I helped lead resulted in the assurance that Massachusetts’s pending flame retardant law will not be subjected to pause preemption, and that there is a mechanism in the bill to ensure that states’ ongoing work on all chemicals can continue while EPA is studying those chemicals.
“The fact that the bill is supported by the EPA, the chemical industry, the Chamber of Commerce and the trial lawyers tells you something.
“The fact that a staggering 403 members of the House of Representatives voted for the TSCA bill, more than the number who agreed to support the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, or Safe Drinking Water Act amendments when those laws were re-authorized, tells you something.
“What it tells you that we worked together on a bipartisan and bicameral basis to compromise in the way Americans expect us to do.
“I thank all of my colleagues in both chambers for their hard work, and I look forward to watching the President sign this historic legislation.”