Chemical industry optimistic on energy legislation, toxics reform

The chemical manufacturing industry is optimistic after last week’s election that Congress will pass energy legislation and toxic chemical safety reform that it supports.

Both have gotten attention from lawmakers, but Democratic leaders in the Senate did not want to move forward with them, said Cal Dooley, president of the American Chemistry Council (ACC).

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“We think we see the real opportunity for enhanced leadership on moving forward with a comprehensive domestic energy policy that will have bipartisan support,” Dooley told journalists Monday.

As one of the top energy intensive industries in the country, chemical manufacturers want to keep energy costs down and be protected from potential increases, Dooley said.

He said the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed rules to restrict carbon dioxide pollution from power plants have the potential to increase electricity costs, along with potential rules to lower the acceptable concentrations of ground-level ozone.

“We’re concerned about some uncertainties that can be created by additional reductions in emissions standards,” he said.

When it comes to ozone, a byproduct of some emissions from burning fossil fuels, Dooley says “EPA ought to be focused on ensuring that they have a significant implementation of the existing ozone to 75 parts per billion before they impose a reduced level.”

In addition to energy costs, ozone rules could make it harder for chemical manufacturers to obtain air pollution permits, Dooley said.

With Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list Climate debate comes full circle MORE (D-Calif.) out as chairwoman of the Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, ACC believes one of the main impediments to reforming the Toxic Substances Control Act has been removed.

Sens. David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBottom Line Bottom Line Top 5 races to watch in 2019 MORE (R-La.) and Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Energy: DC moves closer to climate lawsuit against Exxon | Dems call for ethics investigation into Interior officials | Inslee doubles down on climate in 2020 bid Dem lawmakers call for investigation into Interior officials over alleged ethics violations The Hill's 12:30 Report: Manafort sentenced to total of 7.5 years in prison MORE (D-N.M.) worked out a chemical safety reform package this year that environmentalists, safety advocates and some Democrats said was too soft on polluters and the chemical industry.

Boxer did not want her committee to consider the proposal. But now Sen. Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeThe Hill's Morning Report - Dems look to rebuild 'blue wall' Funding caps, border wall set stage for defense budget battle Trump's claims of defeating ISIS roil Congress MORE (R-Okla.) will lead the panel.

“Now we are confident that with Sen. Inhofe taking over the chair of the EPW Committee, we will have Sen. Vitter and Sen. Udall actually having the ability to see committee action relatively soon in the congressional session,” Dooley said.

Dooley predicted that a favorable toxics reform package would pass both chambers of Congress next year and that President Obama would sign it into law.