Posted April 30, 2015

Don’t be Fooled – S. 697 is an Irreversible Rollback, not Reform.

Don’t be fooled. S. 697 doesn’t even CANVAThe Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) continued to fight for real reform of the Toxic Substances Control ACT (TSCA) of 1976 in Washington, D.C. this week.  We are deeply concerned and disappointed to report that the U.S. Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works (EPW) marked up, voted on, and passed out of Committee by a 15-5 vote the completely sub-par TSCA reform originally proposed by Senators Vitter, Udall, and Inhofe as the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act” (S.697). This legislation has deceived many with its “bipartisan support” label and claims to update the outdated 1976 TSCA bill, but is actually a dramatically inadequate reform proposal.

ADAO does not support any TSCA reform that:

  • Does not mention asbestos: The current bill omits asbestos as a named chemical, affecting the chances of it being reviewed, regulated, and banned in the years to come.
  • Lacks expeditious review of deadly chemicals: The current bill lacks strict deadlines that ensure EPA can review, restrict, and phase out dangerous chemicals.

During the EPW Committee markup, every Democratic amendment was voted down.  Surrounded by chemical industry lobbyists and as I clutched Alan’s burial flag, 11 senators voted no for Sen. Boxer’s critically important asbestos amendment.  One minute Senator is sharing a video talking about the importance of asbestos to TSCA reform – the next minute Senator Vitter diminishes this killer chemical asbestos in S. 697.  Senator Vitter and Udall introduced a substitute bill, although slightly improved, still doesn’t fix other enormous problems as a result of missing deadlines, preemption, and the list goes on and on.  During the markup, every amendment to fix the problems were voted down by Republicans.

The EPW Committee Members who voted NO for Senator Boxer’s Alan Reinstein asbestos amendment were:

James M. Inhofe  (Chairman) – Rep
David Vitter  – Rep
John Barrasso  – Rep
Shelley Moore Capito  – Rep
Mike Crapo  – Rep
John Boozman  – Rep
Jeff Sessions  – Rep
Roger F. Wicker  – Rep
Deb Fischer  – Rep
Mike Rounds  – Rep
Dan Sullivan  – Rep

The EPW Committee Members who voted YES for Senator Boxer’s Alan Reinstein asbestos amendment were:
Barbara Boxer (Ranking Member) – Dem
Thomas R. Carper – Dem
Benjamin L. Cardin – Dem
Bernard Sanders – Dem
Sheldon Whitehouse – Dem
Jeff Merkley – Dem
Kirsten Gillibrand – Dem
Cory A. Booker  – Dem
Edward Markey – Dem

The chemical industry’s propaganda continues to swirl in an effort to influence Congress to urgently pass their bill, which is worse than present law. The Huffington Post reported, “Vitter’s office said they expect the bill to go before the full Senate in the coming weeks.”

You can still take action. A TSCA reform decision is moving fast and we need your support now!  Please, urge your Senator NOT to support S. 697 until Senator Boxer’s asbestos amendment is included. Her asbestos amendment is the legislative text from the Boxer-Markey “Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act,” and ADAO urges you NOT to support this TSCA reform until her asbestos amendment is included.

Click here for ADAO’s TSCA press release and blogs.

Together, we are making a difference.