May 11, 2015

Kaine Co-Sponsors Bipartisan Reform Of Outdated Chemical Safety Law

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tim Kaine co-sponsored bipartisan legislation to overhaul the nation’s chemical safety law. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act updates the outdated 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act by requiring the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider only the health and safety impacts of a chemical – never the cost or burden to manufacturers – when assessing chemicals for safety. The bill also ensures special protections for those most vulnerable from chemicals – pregnant women, infants, the elderly and chemical workers – and provides certainty about when states may step in if the EPA does not act to regulate or ban dangerous chemicals.

“This is a true bipartisan effort to update a 40-year-old chemical safety law that everyone agrees is obsolete,” said Kaine. “Consumers get an up-to-date law that will do a better job keeping them safe from harmful chemicals and businesses get the certainty they need. The good faith shown in this process is a model for legislative cooperation, and I hope Congress will swiftly pass this bipartisan bill.”

New changes to the bill make it clear that states may act to regulate a chemical if EPA misses required deadlines and ensure that states will receive waivers to act on chemicals while EPA is evaluating them for safety. The changes also make clear that states may co-enforce the law, with the condition that penalties may not be collected from both the state and the federal government for the same violation.

The bill, originally sponsored by Senator Tom-Udall (D-NM) along with lead co-sponsor David Vitter (R-LA), has 33 other co-sponsors: Joe Manchin (D-WV), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), John Boozman (R-AR), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), John Hoeven (R-ND), Rob Portman (R-OH), Mark Warner (D-VA), Gary Peters (D-MI), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cory Booker (D-NJ), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Scott (R-SC), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).