ACA has developed a grassroots campaign that helps ACA members actively participate in efforts to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). In May the late Senator Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA), introduced a ground-breaking bipartisan TSCA Reform bill, the Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013 (CSIA – S.1009). ACA has discussed with various senators those principles important to the paint and coatings industry that are protective of human health while allowing companies to innovate and create jobs. All of ACA’s concerns with chemical management have been addressed in the CSIA, namely, federal pre-emption, the treatment of mixtures/articles, and confidential business information. ACA is asking that its members individually reach out to the senators in their respective states and to ask them to co-sponsor CSIA – S.1009.
Through ACA’s CoatingsConnect website, members are able to submit electronic letters to U.S. senators in support of the CSIA. ACA has developed a new TSCA Reform Web Portal that serves as a resource for members to access information about the legislation. By logging in at the CoatingsConnect website www.coatingsconnect.org, members may access the portal, http://www.coatingsconnect.org/issue_alert.asp?g=COATINGS&issue=tsca_reform_alert&parent=COATINGS, which features the complete text of the bill, background information on the bill, sample request letters, sample thank you letters, and U.S. Senate office contact information. In order to pass and implement the CSIA, ACA needs support and engagement from all its members.
The CSIA marks an end to a multi-year partisan fight on chemical management reform, and now increases the chance that meaningful and constructive reforms will be put in place at the federal level. Enacted in 1976, TSCA, which is administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), was designed to protect the public from unreasonable risk of injury to public health or the environment by regulating the manufacture and sale of chemicals. The legislation will require EPA to make safety determinations for chemicals based on intended conditions of use and a risk-based assessment incorporating exposure, hazard, and use information. Of note, the new measure would pre-empt state and local authorities from banning low-priority chemicals or taking certain activities. Establishing stronger federal pre-emption was a major objective for ACA, as it was absent in previous proposals for TSCA reform. The proposed CSIA also offers expansion of justified CBI (confidential business information) protections for information provided by industry on chemical substances, including chemical identity in formulations, another point ACA underscored was a vital component of any TSCA reform measure.
On July 11, ACA attended the second House of Representatives hearing in a series on TSCA, entitled "Regulation of New Chemicals, Protection of Confidential Business Information, and Innovation," held by the Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Environment & the Economy. Witnesses included Craig Morrison, CEO of Momentive Performance Materials; Len Sauers, vice president of Global Sustainability at Procter and Gamble; David Issacs, vice president of Government Affairs at the Semiconductor Industry Association; Rainer Lohmann, professor of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island; and Heather White, executive director of the Environmental Working Group. The hearing examined the regulatory implementation and "real world" implications of TSCA section 5, requirements concerning the manufacture and processing of new chemicals, and TSCA section 14, limiting public disclosure of data submitted to EPA on existing and new chemical substances and mixtures.
And, on July 30, the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing entitled, “Strengthening Public Health and Protections by Addressing Toxic Chemical Threats.” The purpose of the six-hour hearing was to gather diverging views on the appropriateness of the bi-partisan CSIA. Witnesses included Micheal Troncoso, senior counsel of the California Attorney General’s office; Michael Dorsey, chief of Homeland Security and Emergency Response for the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection; Ken Zarker, manager of the Pollution Prevention and Regulatory Section of the Washington State Department of Ecology; Daniel Rosenberg, senior attorney for the Natural Resource Defense Council; Thomas McGarity, law professor at the University of Texas at Austin; Linda Fisher, vice president of Safety, Health and Environment at DuPont; Stephen Owens, an attorney with Squire Sanders; Linda Reinstein, executive director and co-founder of Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization; Robin Greenwald, an attorney with Weitz & Luzxenberg; Mark Duvall, an attorney with Beveridge & Diamond, PC; and Ken Cook, president and co-founder of the Environmental Working Group. ACA is actively engaged in the TSCA modernization debate and will continue to monitor this issue through its Product Stewardship Committee.
The next congressional hearing is scheduled for Sept. 18.
As its name suggests, the role of CoatingsConnect is to help industry members connect personally with public officials, giving elected representatives a more tangible understanding of how legislation and regulation impact the individuals, families, and communities represented by the industry. Participating in the program is easy, and registrants have the flexibility to participate at any comfort level. The site offers links to great tips for writing or meeting with elected officials, writing letters to the editor, and writing Op Eds — information that is essential to establishing and maintaining relationships with those delegated to govern.