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June 1, 2016

Volume 17 Issue 52

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Sen. Paul Stalls on TSCA Reform

U.S. Senate approval for legislation to reform the Toxic Substances Control Act will have to wait until at least June 6, when the Senate reconvenes, after a senator hit “pause” on the effort to bring the bill to a vote May 26.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., objected to a unanimous consent request to vote on the legislation, saying he needed more time to read and understand it.

Titled the “Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act,” bill H.R. 2576 passed in the House of Representatives by a 403-12 vote on May 24. The Lautenberg act merges policy priorities from S. 697, which passed the Senate in December, and H.R. 2576, which passed the House last June.

TSCA is the primary law governing chemicals in the U.S. market, including components of many lubricants. Enforced by the Environmental Protection Agency, the law has remained unchanged since its passing in 1976. The TSCA reform legislation text may be viewed online here.

According to a press release by Paul’s office, the senator believed the TSCA reform legislation was being unnecessarily rushed without an opportunity for review. “I promised the people of Kentucky that I would read every bill before voting for or against it,” he stated.

The American Chemistry Council said momentum for reform of TSCA came to a “grinding halt” due to Sen. Paul’s objection. The council has said the nation’s primary chemicals management law must be updated to keep pace with scientific advancements and to ensure that chemical products are safe for intended use, while also encouraging innovation and protecting American jobs.

“We are sincerely disappointed that Sen. Paul has decided to stand in the way of efforts to provide greater certainty and clarity to industry while holding EPA to strict accountability and transparency requirements,” the ACC said in a statement. “Sen. Paul’s decision to block final passage of legislation to bring chemical regulation into the 21st century is putting the brakes on common sense policy that will have far-reaching benefits for America’s economy and public health. We hope Sen. Paul will quickly reconsider his position.”

The Independent Lubricant Manufacturers Association has urged its members to weigh in with their senators to ask them to expedite passage of the bill.