CPR's Sachs and Shudtz in The Hill: Toxic Ignorance and the Challenge for Congress

Erin Kesler

June 26, 2015

Earlier this week, the House of Representatives passed H.R. 2576, an update to the long-outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), which governs regulation of toxic chemicals.

CPR Member Scholar and University of Richmond Law School professor Noah Sachs and CPR Executive Director Matthew Shudtz wrote a piece for The Hill, highlighting some crucial problems with the bill the House passed. 

They note:

Both bills, for example, require EPA to move through the backlog of untested chemicals and make safety determinations.  A safety determination is a ruling by the agency about whether the chemical poses ‘unreasonable risk’ to human health or the environment – a first step for further regulatory action.

But astoundingly, the House bill requires the agency to initiate only 10 chemical evaluations per year ‘subject to the availability of appropriations,’ and the Senate bill requires EPA to make these safety determinations for only 25 chemicals over five years.    

Worse yet, the key phrase ‘unreasonable risk’ is left undefined in both bills.  What that means is that when EPA does get around to taking regulatory action, it will be challenged in court.  We will likely see a decade of litigation before the courts sort out the ambiguity and decide how much risk is ‘unreasonable.’ 

To read the entire piece, click here.

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