Testimony of CPR's Wagner for House Hearing on new TSCA bill today focuses on impact to EPA's use of science

Erin Kesler

Nov. 13, 2013

Today, Center for Progressive Reform Member Scholar and law professor at the University of Texas School of Law, Wendy Wagner will testify at a House Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment Hearing entitled, "S. 1009, Chemical Safety Improvement Act."

Wagner's testimony can be read in full here.

According to her testimony:

My testimony will focus on the various good science provisions in S.1009 and how they are likely to impact EPA’s use of science.  I will make the following points in my remarks: 

1.  The Senate bill contains dozens of unprecedented requirements that limit the scientific evidence EPA can consider when developing regulations and how this evidence can be used.  Yet despite the detailed level of scientific prescription in the Bill, it is not clear what problem the Bill is trying to fix.  While there have been many failures associated with the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) over the years, they are generally not connected to EPA’s failure to make use of the best available science when promulgating regulations.

2.   By contrast, there is broad consensus that the primary problem crippling EPA’s regulatory efforts under TSCA is the dearth of information about chemicals.  The Senate Bill not only appears oblivious to the scarcity of toxicity and related information on most chemicals, but may aggravate the problem by preventing EPA from considering research that has the potential to inform EPA’s assessments in scientifically acceptable ways.

3.   The various good science requirements and procedures are also loaded with ambiguities, creating numerous “attachment points” that present opportunities for a steady stream of legal challenges to EPA’s rules.  If history is any guide, entities with the most at stake (e.g., manufacturers of the least effective and least safe chemicals) will use these attachment points to delay EPA’s implementation or force EPA into negotiations before, during, or after a rule is published.  Senate Bill 1009 also lacks enforceable legislative deadlines to counteract this inevitable delay for most provisions.  The Bill also makes fails to provide procedural protections that will prevent or at least illuminate these compromises that fall outside the formal processes and out of the public eye.

4.  Protracted delays in implementation, with corresponding, potentially high costs to protection of the public health, seem inevitable from the cumulative problems with the good science provisions in S. 1009.

5. Chemical regulation will be effective only if it provides incentives for the manufacture of safer and more effective chemicals.  The Senate Bill does not provide these incentives. 


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