Inhofe: House Moving Too Slowly on TSCA

By Ari Natter and Anthony Adragna

Feb. 11 — House negotiators aren't moving fast enough in their efforts to merge their version of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) with the Senate's, the chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee told Bloomberg BNA.

“I think the House is not moving the way they should,” Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) said Feb. 10, adding, “they are just a little slow in starting.”

Inhofe's remarks come as he previously said he hoped a conference to reconcile the differences between the Senate's broader version of the legislation overhauling the nation's primary industrial chemical law with the House's narrower version could be completed quickly, possibly before the end of January.

A spokesman for Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), who leads the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on the Environment and the Economy, didn't respond to a request for comment.

The legislation, which would update the Toxic Substances Control Act for the first time since it became law in 1976, is supported by companies that include 3M, BASF, and the Dow Chemical Co.

State Chemical Programs, Other Differences

Among the differences between the two bills that will need to be addressed include state chemical program preemption, how to handle confidential business information and how the Environmental Protection Agency should address new chemicals,

Shimkus previously told Bloomberg BNA that those issues may be decided when a formal conference is convened after informal talks .

Inhofe, in a Feb. 11 interview, said the House bill gives the EPA “too much latitude.”

“I’d like the reins to be a little tighter,” he said. “But that’s where the negotiation is right now.”

Still, lawmakers have expressed optimism that differences in the two bills will be worked out and the legislation will be sent to the president's desk sometime this year.

“TSCA’s going well,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.), the author of S. 697, told Bloomberg BNA. “We’re having some good discussions.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Ari Natter in Washington at anatter@bna.com and Anthony Adragna in Washington at aadragna@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Larry Pearl at lpearl@bna.com