Washington — Confidence is high among chemical industry leaders that the U.S. Congress will come to an agreement on chemical regulation reform this year.
A bill could be ready for President Obama's signature before legislators depart for their Memorial Day vacation, American Chemistry Council President and CEO Cal Dooley said at GlobalChem, the annual chemical regulation conference and exhibition from ACC and the Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA).
“We are rounding third base and heading home,” said Dooley of the much-anticipated legislation that would update the 1970s-era Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
After decades of failed attempts, one version of the bill (HR 2576) passed the U.S. House of Representatives by a 398-1 vote in June and another draft (S 697) was approved by unanimous consent in the Senate in December. A conference committee is currently working to reconcile the differences between the 45-page House bill and the more ambitious, 200-plus page Senate version.
Dooley also said March 23 that he is confident growth in the U.S. chemical market will continue despite current short-term price volatility, carried largely by the domestic 40-year natural gas supply that serves the industry as a feedstock as well as an energy advantage.
“We will maintain that global competitive advantage for decades to come,” he said.
Good regulation is key to that continued growth, Dooley said. With an improved chemical regulation law on the books and increased cooperation between regulators and industry under a more efficient and less bureaucratic system, the United States can lead the world in chemical safety — as long as industry does its part.
“It's going to take more than just passing a law,” he said. “Implementation is key if are going to set the gold standard on chemical safety. We have a lot of work to do.”