Carper Cosponsors Legislation to Modernize Federal Standards for Toxic Chemicals

Senator secures key revisions to better protect public health and environment in bill updating toxic chemicals safety regulations

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior Democrat on the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, cosponsored the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) to overhaul the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976. Enacted nearly four decades ago, TSCA is outdated and fails to adequately protect the public from harmful chemicals.

Over the past few years, there have been several unsuccessful attempts to overhaul TSCA. This newest bipartisan proposal, however, contains critical revisions Sen. Carper has worked hard to include so that the new framework will offer Delawareans and all Americans the confidence they deserve that the products they use every day don’t contain unsafe chemicals. The provisions secured by Sen. Carper will better protect public health and our environment, while still offering a regulatory process that is reasonable and manageable for businesses.

“Bipartisanship is hard to come by in the Senate these days, especially on issues that affect the environment,” Sen. Carper said. “But in this case, Democrats and Republicans are coming together to improve a failed law that doesn’t work for consumers and doesn’t work for businesses. Right now, we are closer than we’ve ever gotten to reforming our toxics law because both sides have worked together to compromise on policy without compromising their principles.”

Sen. Carper has been clear that as a cosponsor he will continue to work to make further improvements in the legislation. 

“Important progress has been made on this legislation, and must be recognized, but our work is not yet finished,” Sen. Carper continued. “For instance, I believe we should further examine the ways in which states and the public can review EPA’s chemical safety decisions, and the role states will play in implementing the new law.  I remain confident we can make progress and find a reasonable compromise as we move this bill through committee and to the Senate floor.”

Sen. Carper cosponsored the legislation after working closely with the sponsors for more than a year to secure enhanced protections for public health and the environment. He believes these negotiations have yielded significant improvements to the legislation and will ensure that the substantial progress that has already been made can be a foundation for additional enhancements to the bill. Sen. Carper is confident that the legislative process, including a hearing in the EPW Committee later this month, will provide ample opportunity for additional modifications and improvement, and that waiting any longer to act on chemical reform should not be an option.

In a letter sent to Sens. Udall, Vitter and James Inhofe (R-Okla.) today, Sen. Carper outlined the improvements he will work hard to make in the coming weeks.