Petition to reject Udall-Vitter chemical bill has 80,000 signatures

An online petition asking Senate Democrats to reject a bipartisan bill to reform the nation’s toxic chemical laws has gained 81,026 signatures.

Credo Action, which refers to itself as a social change organization, posted the petition on its website to stop the Senate from passing the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act, introduced by Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallOvernight Defense: Foreign policy takes center stage at Democratic debate | House delivers impeachment articles to Senate | Dems vow to force new vote on Trump's border wall Democrats vow to force third vote on Trump's border wall emergency declaration Overnight Defense: War powers fight runs into impeachment | Kaine has 51 votes for Iran resolution | Trump plans to divert .2B from Pentagon to border wall MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterThe biggest political upsets of the decade Red-state governor races put both parties on edge Louisiana Republicans score big legislative wins MORE (R-La.) earlier this month.

The group is calling the proposed legislation, which aims to give the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to regulate the nation’s most dangerous chemicals, “a sham chemical safety bill.”

ADVERTISEMENT

“The Udall-Vitter chemical safety bill is a giveaway to the chemical industry that would stop states from protecting their residents from toxic chemicals,” the petition says. “Reject this dangerous, industry-sellout bill.”

Democrats, led by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.), have long sought reforms to the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) of 1976, though the effort has repeatedly stalled in previous years.

The Udall-Vitter bill, named after Lautenberg, would force the Environmental Protection Agency to base chemical safety decisions solely on considerations of risk to public health and the environment, and eliminates TSCA's "least burdensome" requirement for regulating a chemical, which prevented the EPA from banning asbestos.

Opponents of the bill, however, say it would stop states from being able to issue their own protects and fails to address asbestos, the known carcinogen the EPA has unable to ban.

Displeased with the Udall-Vitter bill, Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.) introduced their own legislation, The Alan Reinstein and Trevor Schaefer Toxic Chemical Protection Act, which would require the EPA to act quickly to consider a ban on asbestos and maintains states’ rights to protect people from dangerous toxic chemicals.

Instead of singling out one chemical, Udall has argued his bill gives the EPA the strongest possible authority to protect Americans from harmful substances like asbestos, BPA, styrene and other threats to public health.