Statements and Speeches

WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.) a senior member of the Senate Environment & Public Works Committee, released the following statement regarding the committee’s hearing on "The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act."

"For almost 40 years, a broken regulatory system for toxic substances has failed to adequately protect Americans from risks to their health. Tens of thousands of chemicals have come to market since 1976 when the Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA, became law, yet its shortcomings have kept the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from taking action on an overwhelming majority of them. The number of chemicals that have been regulated is shocking – five – and only 200 of the tens of thousands of chemicals used in this country have even been evaluated. By any measure, the law is a failure. It’s time we rebuild and strengthen this system so we can keep dangerous chemicals away from our communities and out of the products used by millions of families every day.

"While there have been several attempts to reform TSCA in the past few Congresses, each has failed to become law. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act represents a bipartisan compromise and a great step toward finally getting something done. I believe that inaction on this issue can no longer be an option and that’s why I have been working for well over a year to ensure this bill addresses some of my most pressing concerns. The result of this work is a piece of legislation that will provide stronger protection for our public health and our environment, while establishing a manageable regulatory framework for American businesses.

"I have cosponsored the bill at this critical point as a sign of my support for the strong, open, and productive bipartisan process that has come to pass so far. That is not to say that all of my concerns have been satisfied. I believe there is more work to be done. We must ensure that states have an adequate and appropriate role in the implementation of federal rules to regulate harmful chemicals. This means that the states should have a role in enforcement of federal safety regulations. It also means that states should be able to continue protecting their communities from a chemical when EPA has deemed a potential risk up until the federal government finalizes safety rules. I also believe there should be a reasonable and transparent procedure for people to challenge the decisions EPA makes about a chemical. I have outlined these concerns to my colleagues and my enthusiasm for moving forward will depend on the progress that is made to address them.

"I will be steadfast in my dedication to improving this bill as the legislative process continues. Bipartisanship in this chamber is hard to find, and even harder to find when we work on environmental issues, so I will do everything I can to ensure we don't let this momentum go to waste. I believe we must seize this opportunity. I look forward to today's hearing as an important part of this effort to further strengthen the bill and continue to build bipartisan support for this long overdue reform effort."