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Coalition of states opposes language in Chemicals in Commerce Act

By Bryan Cohen | Apr 21, 2014

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley joined a coalition of states on Thursday in sending a letter urging leaders of the House of Representatives to object to language in the proposed Chemicals in Commerce Act.

Coakley and 12 other attorneys general alleged the proposed bill would strip states of the power to regulate toxic chemicals and enforce protections against toxic exposures. The bill would make changes to the Toxic Substances Control Act.

"Our federal toxics law is more than 35 years old and in obvious need of reform to ensure that our citizens, particularly those most vulnerable, are protected," Coakley said. "While I applaud the ongoing bipartisan efforts in Congress to modernize the TSCA, the ability of individual states to protect the public must not be sacrificed in the process."

The TSCA, which was first adopted in 1976, governs national chemicals policy and sets federal restrictions on the manufacture and use of chemicals that present an unacceptable risk of harm to the environment and public health. The law has allegedly failed to fulfill its purpose.

Coakley and the coalition argued the Chemicals in Commerce Act should not preempt state and local requirements, prevent states from establishing or continuing to enforce state regulation of chemicals and prevent states from seeking information about a toxic chemical from a company.

The coalition's letter offers assistance in developing legislation to help TSCA meet its goal while preserving the role of states in protecting health and welfare.

The coalition includes attorneys general from Washington, Vermont, Oregon, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Maryland, Maine, Iowa, Hawaii, Connecticut, California, Massachusetts and New York.

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