In an article published on May 19, 2016 by The New York Times, journalists Coral Davenport and Emmarie Huetteman report on the negotiations between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate regarding the reforming of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. The Senate approved a TSCA reform bill in December 2015 (FPF reported), whereas the House agreed on its version – the TSCA modernization act – already in June 2015 (FPF reported). The House and Senate must reconcile the two versions of the bill before it can be enacted into law.

According to Davenport and Huetteman, House and Senate negotiators have reached an agreement on a reconciled bill representing a “pragmatic, politically viable compromise between better environmental standards and the demands of industry.” However, not all negotiators are on board with the current draft of the TSCA reform bill claiming that in some aspects “it is actually weaker than current law.” Yet the final votes of House and Senate are expected this week and the bill could be handed to U.S. President Barak Obama for signing before the end of May 2016.

The industry group American Chemistry Council (ACC) stated that “this legislation balances the priorities and interests of multiple stakeholders, while producing an agreement that pragmatic industry, environmental, public health and labor groups can ultimately support.” In contrast, environmental and public health group Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families remains critical of certain elements of the bill such as the pre-emption of most new State regulations on chemicals of concern (COCs) and EPA’s limited authority to evaluate imported products.

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Coral Davenport & Emmarie Huetteman (May 19, 2016). “Lawmakers reach deal to expand regulation of toxic chemicals.The New York Times

ACC (May 19, 2016). “TSCA reform compromise is the product of tireless negotiation, strong congressional leadership.

Andy Igrejas (May 21, 2016). “The near-final TSCA reform legislation – a rundown.Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families

Kelly Franklin (May 18, 2016). “Negotiators ‘finalising’ TSCA reform bill.Chemical Watch