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Congressman Gene Green

Representing the 29th District of Texas

Congressman Gene Green Supports Bipartisan, Bicameral Reform of Chemical Safety Law

May 24, 2016
Press Release
A Historic Advancement for Chemical Safety and Environmental Law

 

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Gene Green (TX-29) spoke today on the House Floor in support of the Toxic Substance Control (TSCA) Modernization Act, a bill to modernize outdated legislation to protect Americans from toxic substances.

The House's passing of today's bipartisan, bicameral legislation, by a margin of 403-12, will overhaul our nation’s broken chemical safety law for the first time since 1976 by directly addressing TSCA’s fundamental flaws

The most notable improvements in the bill are:

  • Replacing current TSCA’s burdensome safety standard with a pure, health-based standard.
  • Explicitly requiring the protection of vulnerable populations, like children, pregnant women, and workers at chemical facilities.
  • Requiring a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed to go to market.
  • Giving EPA new authority to order testing and ensure chemicals are safe, with a focus on the most risky chemicals.

"This legislation is a win-win for my district in East Houston and Harris County, Texas, home to one of the largest collection of chemical facilities in the country," said Congressman Gene Green. "The reforms contained in this proposal will enhance protections for the workers in our chemical plants, the fenceline communities next to the plants, and benefit chemical manufacturers who will have certainty in a true, nationwide market."

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Floor Statement by Rep. Gene Green

House Amendment to Senate Amendment to H.R. 2576 – the TSCA Modernization Act

May 24, 2016

"Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the amendment to H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act. It's an abbreviation for the Toxic Substances Control Act.

"This bipartisan, bicameral legislation will reform our nation’s broken chemical safety law for the first time since 1976 and directly addresses TSCA’s fundamental flaws.

"This legislation is a win-win for my district in Eastside Houston and eastern Harris County, Texas, home to one of the largest collection of chemical facilities in the country. The reforms contained in this proposal will enhance protections for the workers in our chemical plants, the fenceline communities next to the plants, and benefit chemical manufacturers who will have certainty in a true, nationwide market.

"Congress has worked on reforming TSCA for over a decade, and I have personally been working on fixing the statute since 2008. Though not perfect, the proposal before the House today is, in the words of the Obama Administration, 'a clear improvement over current TSCA and represents a historic advancement for both chemical safety and environmental law.'

"Let me quote from the United Steel Workers, 'overall the amendments of H.R. 2576, the TSCA Modernization Act, do not result in a bill they would have written. However, there are significant improvements over the current law including a fix of the 1991 “asbestos decision” that crippled the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) ability to act. Now EPA must use a health-only standard to evaluate chemicals and reserve cost-benefit analysis for determining restrictions of harmful chemicals.'

"Additionally, the bill includes increased EPA authority to review chemicals, a fee structure to fund the program, and protection of vulnerable populations including workers.

"Again that’s from the United Steelworkers.

"The most notable improvements in the bill are replacing current TSCA’s burdensome safety standard with a pure, health-based standard. Explicitly requiring the protection of vulnerable populations, like children, pregnant women, and workers at the plants. Requiring a safety finding before new chemicals are allowed to go to market. Giving EPA new authority to order testing and ensure chemicals are safe, with a focus on the most risky chemicals.

"This legislation responds to the concerns of industry to provide regulatory certainty for job creators throughout our economy. And has the support of the Environmental Defense Fund, the Humane Society, the March of Dimes, and the National Wildlife Federation. And along with the Machinist Union and Building Trades.

"I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in supporting this amendment and help pass the first major environmental legislation in a quarter century.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker, and I yield back the balance of my time." 

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