The law regulating toxic chemicals in the environment (TSCA) is 40 years old, and both the chemical industry and public health and environmental advocates agree that it needs to be brought up to date. How to update it — that’s the rub, because as usual, the lines are sharply drawn between those who want to weaken the legislation (mostly Republicans) and those who say it doesn’t go far enough (mostly Democrats).
Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) co-sponsored the new bill with Sen. David Vitter (R-LA). It was presented yesterday to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Udall was a steadfast advocate for the environment until the 2014 election cycle, when two things happened concurrently:
Udall began working on a new bill to regulate toxic chemicals, and the American Chemical Council contributed to his reelection campaign for the first time ever.
The ACC, a leading trade organization and lobbyist for the chemical industry, even sponsored a television ad backing Udall’s candidacy. Only three congressional candidates received a larger bounty from the chemical industry than Udall did. He and the other 16 cosponsors of his legislation received, on average, about 70 percent more from chemical companies than other senators.