U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) released the following statement yesterday after the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works held a hearing on his bipartisan bill to protect our families from toxic chemicals. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act protects Americans from toxic chemicals by enacting common-sense and necessary reforms to update the broken and ineffective Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
“Today’s hearing showed that Democrats, Republicans, environmentalists, public health advocates and manufacturers all agree: our current chemical safety law is fatally flawed. It’s failed to ban asbestos, and it’s failed to protect our most vulnerable — infants, pregnant women, children and the elderly. Our challenge is to come together to find a solution that will protect the next generation from dangerous chemicals. We took a critical step forward today. I’m proud to have included as many stakeholders and advocates who would come to the table to write the The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. Our bill achieves what we have struggled to do for 39 years — it gives the EPA strong authority to regulate asbestos and other dangerous chemicals, ensures that our kids will be protected, and it does so in a way that continues to attract bipartisan support. Most importantly for me, it will ensure that states like New Mexico — states that can’t afford to regulate chemicals on their own — are protected from toxic substances.
“No one got everything they wanted in this bill. And there is still room to improve it. But I want to echo Bonnie Lautenberg, who passionately spoke today on behalf of her husband, the late Senator Lautenberg, whom I greatly admired for his dedication to protecting public health. I strongly urge my fellow public servants: We need to act now. Let’s not allow a search for the ideal prevent us from protecting families for another 39 years. The New York Times editorial board today encouraged lawmakers to keep working on chemical safety reform. As the Senate moves forward, I plan to continue to engage all sides constructively. Compromise is a great challenge, but it has given us the opportunity to reform a broken law and improve lives. We must meet this challenge now.”