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Top EPA Toxics Officials Under Obama & Bush Admins Hail Lautenberg-Vitter Bill to Reform Nation's Chemical Laws

Press Release

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Location: Washington, DC

U.S. Senators Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) and David Vitter (R-LA) today announced support for their bipartisan legislation to modernize the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) by former top Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) toxics officials from the Administrations of President Barack Obama and George W. Bush. The strong statements of support come from Steve Owens and Charles M. Auer, both of whom served in top positions at the EPA's Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention (OCSPP), which is responsible for administering TSCA.

"The Chemical Safety Improvement Act is a significant improvement over the current outdated Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). The CSIA sets a workable safety standard for chemicals, and it gives EPA the mandate - and the authority - to conduct safety assessments of chemicals, identify chemical risks and take action to protect children and families from exposure to chemicals that present unreasonable risks of harm. Enacted in 1976, TSCA is the only major environmental statute that has never been updated. TSCA has been showing its age - and its limitations - for some time. The CSIA will help bring our nation's chemical management program into the 21st Century," said Steve Owens, who served as Assistant Administrator of the EPA's OCSSP under the Obama Administration from July 2009 until November 2011. "I commend Senators Lautenberg and Vitter and their colleagues for achieving such a major breakthrough in the years-long effort to strengthen chemical regulation and protect the public from unreasonable chemical risks."

"The Chemical Safety Improvement Act provides a workable and effective framework for ensuring the safety of the chemicals that Americans are exposed to in their everyday lives. I believe that the bill offers an approach that can effectively resolve essentially all of the testing, assessment, and risk management issues that were so troubling under the old TSCA statute," said Charles M. Auer, who worked for more than three decades in the EPA's OCSSP, until his retirement in 2009, under the Bush Administration, as Director of the Office.

Click on the following links to read the full statements from Mr. Owens and Mr. Auer.

"Steve Owens and Charlie Auer are among America's foremost experts on toxics and have a unique understanding of exactly what's needed to improve our nation's chemical laws. As leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency's toxics division, they have experienced the limitations of current law firsthand and know what changes are necessary to create a workable system," said Senators Lautenberg and Vitter. "Their ringing endorsement of our bipartisan legislation validates our approach to protecting the health of American families and strengthening consumer confidence."

The Lautenberg-Vitter "Chemical Safety Improvement Act" would significantly update and improve TSCA, which has proven ineffective and is criticized by both the public health community and industry. The Lautenberg-Vitter legislation would, for the first time, ensure that all chemicals are screened for safety to protect public health and the environment, while also creating an environment where manufacturers can continue to innovate, grow, and create jobs.

Their bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Charles Schumer (D-NY), James Inhofe (R-OK), Tom Udall (D-NM), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), John Boozman (R-AR), Robert Menendez (D-NJ), John Hoeven (R-ND), Patty Murray (D-WA), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), and Mark Begich (D-AK).


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