Bipartisan TSCA Reform Bill Sails Through House

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Last night, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the TSCA Modernization Act of 2015 (H.R. 2576) with a near-unanimous vote of 398-1. The bipartisan bill now heads to the Senate, where a competing bill (S. 697) advanced last month. Lawmakers will have to resolve key differences between the bills before sending to President Obama.

H.R. 2576 would update the 40-year old Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time. The bill’s key provisions remove cost as a factor in EPA’s chemical safety assessments, afford EPA more power to order new chemical safety data, and aim to create a more uniform regulatory system throughout the country. The hope is such changes would make it easier for EPA to evaluate and regulate chemicals efficiently and effectively.

Tuesday’s bill contained several changes since the House Committee on Energy and Commerce reported the bill on June 3. Amendments included: (i) reducing the deadline for completion of manufacturer-requested risk evaluations from three to two years; (ii) requiring that manufacturer-requested risk evaluations be submitted in a form and manner set by EPA; (iii) giving EPA more flexibility to begin risk evaluations as agency resources become available; and (iv) clarifying that fee amounts available to EPA must be approved in advance by Congressional appropriation bills.

TSCA Reform efforts have been gestating in Congress for years and years. Will 2015 finally be the year that TSCA gets its much-needed facelift? Stay tuned.