On Thursday February 27, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Environment and the Economy Subcommittee John Shimkus (R-IL) released the "Chemicals in Commerce Act" (CICA) Discussion Draft to reform the flawed Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 (TSCA). While there has been activity on this issue in the Senate with the introduction of the Chemical Safety Improvement Act in 2013, this is the first picture of what a Republican-controlled House bill might look like. As a "draft," it has not been officially proposed as law, and will continue to undergo review and revision.
While we are encouraged that members of the House have been working on this pressing issue, we believe the draft fails to offer meaningful chemical safety reform and falls short of our key principles in important ways:
- The draft fails to offer the American people the transparency they deserve by restricting public access to information regarding the safety of chemicals
- The draft also includes a cost/benefit analysis in the safety standard, which takes the focus away from the health of citizens and prevents the EPA from taking timely action on harmful chemicals
- CICA will hinder the ability of individual states to protect their residents by preempting the authority of states early in the review process and under broad conditions
- The draft lacks sufficient deadlines and timelines for the EPA to take action, which will cause uncertainty and hinder quick action
Nevertheless, we see the introduction of CICA as a promising step and hope that the House continues to work across party lines to improve CICA and pass meaningful chemical reform legislation.