Senators reach compromise on chemical safety bill

Senators reach compromise on chemical safety bill
© Francis Rivera

The two leading senators working to reform the country’s 40-year-old toxic chemicals law say they’ve come to an initial agreement on how to move forward.

Sen. James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Senate nixes Trump rule limiting methane regulation | Senate confirms EPA chief: Biden's climate goals are 'an opportunity to lead' | Fine-particle pollution disproportionately hurts people of color: research EPA chief: Biden's climate goals are 'an opportunity to lead' Senate confirms Pentagon policy chief criticized by Republicans for tweets MORE (R-Okla.), chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, and Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerBottom line Trump administration halting imports of cotton, tomatoes from Uighur region of China Biden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status MORE (Calif.), its top Democrat, said Friday that the main part of their negotiation is done.


“We have negotiated in good faith and are extremely pleased that we have reached an agreement on key sticking points of the [Toxic Substances Control Act] reform bill,” the two senators said.

“We have an incredible team that is working tirelessly, and we look forward to finalizing the deal with House negotiators.”

Boxer was the main holdout against a bipartisan bill that the Senate passed in December by voice vote to reform the chemicals law, which has been widely panned as ineffective and in need of an overhaul.

Boxer wanted to give states more regulatory power over chemicals than the bill allowed, and she wanted more power to act against cancer “clusters,” among other changes she said would make the bill stronger.

Nonetheless, Boxer let the bill pass.

Inhofe and Boxer did not say what changes they agreed to.

The negotiations with Boxer were part of a larger effort to reconcile the Senate’s bill with one passed by the House earlier last year. Boxer previously said the House version was much closer to what she wanted.

The two senators still need to get House approval for their changes, at which point both full chambers can vote on a negotiated measure.