Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she recieved a copy of the chemical reform bill that Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and David Vitter (R-La.) introduced last week by email that proves the legislation was created by the chemical industry.

“It was clear from the computer coding that the final draft originated at the American Chemical Council itself,” she said.

{mosads}Her comments come a day before the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee is expected to discuss the legislation at a hearing.

“Maybe I’m old fashioned, but I do not believe that a regulated industry should be so intimately involved in writing a bill that regulates them.”

Boxer unveiled her competing bill, the Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, co-sponsored by Sen. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) at a press conference with celebrity environmental advocate Erin Brockovich.

Unlike the Udall-Vitter bill, Boxer said her bill will guarantee action from the Environmental Protection Agency on hundreds of dangerous chemicals and explicitly direct the agency to address asbestos.

“The Udall-Vitter bill only provides for the assessment of just 25,” she said.

Later adding, “Their bill doesn’t even mention the word asbestos.”

Udall and Vitter’s bill, introduced last week, comes after repeated attempts, led by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA), faltered in the divided Congress.

“I loved Frank Lautenberg very much and it is with very deep respect and a heavy heart that I make these statements about the bill that has been named after him,” Boxer said. “But I remember when Frank said this, ‘It’s time to take action on TSCA reform and put an end to the chemical companies’ political games.’”

Udall has said that his bill – the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act – is a compromise between Democrats, Republicans, industry and environmental groups that comes after two years of negotiations.

In a statement last week, he said his bill doesn’t single out any specific chemical because it gives the EPA the authority to regulate any of the 84,000 chemicals in commerce.

“Our bill gives EPA the strongest possible authority to protect Americans from harmful substances like asbestos, BPA, styrene and other threats to public health,” he said.

But the Environmental Defense Fund, a proponent of the Udall-Vitter bill, said Boxer ‘ intentionally hand picked’ the draft of the bill that the American Chemical Council gave input on.

“I think there were many, many drafts of the bill that were shared over the course of two years with industry, environmental and health advocacy groups,” said Jack Pratt, the group’s chemicals campaign director. “There was plenty of input from plenty of different stakeholders, plenty of stakeholders who don’t even support the bill at this point.”

Udall’s Spokeswoman Jennifer Talhelm said the document Boxer is circulating is a draft of the legislation that a number of groups gave input on.

“This bill was written by Sen. Udall and Sen. Vitter in one of the most open and inclusive processes for a major piece of legislation to ensure all sides got a chance to be heard — environmental advocates, industry, public health NGOs and others all were involved,” she said.

“ACC had no more input than environmental groups, and as a result of the input from many stakeholders, the bill has moved further toward what environmental groups and others said they wanted to see.”

Tags asbestos Barbara Boxer Barbara Boxer David Vitter David Vitter Edward Markey Environment Frank Lautenberg Politics of the United States Tom Udall Toxic Substances Control Act United States Senate

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