Erin Brockovich denounces latest chemical law reform bill

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Consumer advocate Erin Brockovich is calling legislation introduced Tuesday to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws an industry bill.  

“This bill does not make chemicals safer,” she said. “I wouldn’t even consider it in my opinion a [Toxic Chemicals Control Act, or TSCA] bill. It’s an industry bill.”

{mosads}Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) unveiled the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act on Tuesday. It’s the latest push to reform the TSCA of 1976, which is widely considered broken and unenforceable.

But in a press call led by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Wednesday, Brockovich said the bill would take away states’ rights in regulating harmful chemicals like asbestos.

“If we take away states rights and dump this back on the EPA, which is already overburdened, understaffed and without state funds, to me that’s insanity,” she said.

Brockovich is best know for building the case against the California-based Pacific Gas and Electric Co. in 1993. Despite a lack of formal education, she exposed the company for leaking toxic Chromium 6 into the ground water and poisoning residents in the town of Hinkley. Julia Roberts won an Oscar playing Brockovich in the 2000 movie.

Now Brockovich is now an advocate for environmental issues.

Though sponsors of the TSCA refrom bill say it will balance state and federal regulations, EWG says the wording of the bill differs from what’s being presented.  

EWG President and Co-founder Ken Cook said the states would be preempted from taking action on any chemical that the EPA deems a high priority and begins to review, a safety assessment, which under the proposed law could take up to seven years. The public, he said, should be “very alarmed.”

“With respect to public health, this is keystone on steroids,” he said.

Tags David Vitter Erin Brockovich Tom Udall Toxic Substances Control Act United States Environmental Protection Agency
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