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Published on : Mar 17, 2015

Wednesday’s assembly of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will witness the debut of the Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. If the bill is successfully converted into a law, it will become the first update in the toxic substance related federal regulations in 39 years. The older list includes formaldehyde, asbestos, and many others.

The bill’s draft is said to be the making of at least two years of collaboration and negotiation between Senator Tom Udall, Senator David Vitter and environmental groups as well as chemical industry. The bill was first circulated through Udall’s office prior to the hearing. Inspection of the draft using rudimentary digital forensics revealed that the draft was originally placed by the American Chemistry Council.

The ACC is the top trade group and lobbyist for the chemical industry. Those who are opposing the bill have leapt at the chance, saying that the bill will probably increasingly favor the chemical industry.

The Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook said that they are apparently at a pint in the minds of a few Congress members that the laws that are originally meant to regulate polluters are now being written by the polluters themselves. Cook will be testifying against the bill on its Wednesday hearing.

Senator Barbra Boxer said that a bill that protects the public from harmful chemicals should essentially not be written by chemical industry lobbyists. Our voices as well as our families’ must not be drowned out by the industry which has had a documented impact. The issue must be addressed or else the entire exercise is a sham.

Boxer was the chairperson when the Democrats held the majority and had introduced a bill for the same purpose which was much more stringent in terms of regulatory provisions.