WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would update a decades-old law regulating chemical manufacture, transportation and use, after weeks of waiting under a hold focused on unrelated legislation.
Though the bill (S 697) enjoyed broad bipartisan support, many originally expected something of a fight on the Senate floor, led by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who had her own version of the bill and concerns that the federal law would pre-empt the state laws that have been passed over nearly 40 years of federal inaction.
But it was a hold by Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) that stalled an anticipated summer vote, as he insisted on attaching an amendment relating to the reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).
The U.S. House of Representatives approved its bill (HR 2576) on June 23, with a 398-1 vote; the lone dissenter was California Republican Rep. Tom McClintock.
Plastics industry groups have long supported an update to TSCA, which has seen more problems than progress over the last four decades.
"Today's bipartisan passage of the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act is a watershed moment in the history of U.S. environmental legislation," said American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley in a news release after the Senate vote. "This legislation demonstrates what is possible when stakeholders put their differences aside and come together to work toward a common objective."
The House and Senate must now reconcile the two versions of the bill before it makes its way to the president's desk for a signature.