[Date Prev][Date Next][Date Index]

E-M:/ Another bad bill supported by Mike Rogers on preemption

Title: Another bad bill supported by Mike Rogers on preemptio
Apparently Michigan's Mike Rogers is also supporting a VERY BAD bill that would preempt and invalidate state standards on chemicals that are persistent organic pollutants.  This would have prevented Michigan's landmark legislation many years ago on some of the worst toxic pollutants.

Take a minute to call Mike Rogers (202) 225-4872 to register your displeasure

Apparently Congressman Dingell should be congratulated for indicating support for the GOOD bill.

Also, 12 Attorneys General weighed in against the legislation.  But where is Michigan's Attorney General? Does our AG's office agree with efforts at state preemption on this issue?
Today, the House Subcommittee on the Environment and Hazardous Materials will hold a hearing on proposed legislation to implement the Stockholm Convention on POPs. The U.S. signed this global treaty in 2001 but has yet to ratify it. In anticipation of this event, 45 NGOs (see below) representing millions of Americans sent a letter to key Congressional leaders indicating their strong support H.R. 4800, a bill by Rep. Hilda Solis (D-CA). The letter also rejects H.R. 4591, a bill by Rep. Paul Gillmor (R-OH), that would obstruct regulation of other POPs added to the global treaty and preempt stricter state and local rules, challenging states rights on this issue.
Also yesterday a dozen state Attorneys General weighed in: 11 signed a joint letter led by Massachusetts with California, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, and Oregon. Republican AG Ron McKenna from Washington wrote his own letter, denouncing the Gillmor bill.

Negotiated between 1998 and late 2000, the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was signed by a number of nations, including the United States, in May 2001. The Stockholm Convention is intended to eliminate or restrict the production, use and/or release of 12 chemicals that, due to their persistence in the environment, can affect human health throughout the globe, regardless of the location of their use.

To ratify the treaty, Congress needs to amend the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Dear Chairmen and Ranking Members:

We write to strongly encourage your leadership in ensuring that the paramount
health and environmental protection goals of the Stockholm Convention are fully
embodied in U.S. implementing amendments to the Toxic Substances Control Act
(TSCA). Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a global threat. Carried around the
world by wind and water, they persist for years in the environment and accumulate in our
bodies, where they can cause cancer, neurological and learning disabilities, and harm
immune and reproductive systems. Infants and children in the United States and
throughout the world are especially vulnerable to exposure before birth and from their
mother's milk. Many Americans, especially Alaskans and indigenous peoples, workers,
and communities near industrial facilities, bear a heavy burden of chemical
contamination from POPs.
The Stockholm POPs Convention was negotiated with the active participation of
the U.S. government and signed by the Bush Administration with broad support from the
business community, workers, and the environmental and health community. The treaty
bans or severely restricts ten industrial or agricultural chemicals, and sets the goal of
minimizing and ultimately eliminating two industrial byproducts. At U.S. insistence, it
also establishes a rigorous, science-based process for identifying and adding other POPs
to the Convention. As none of the "dirty dozen POPs" chemicals presently in the treaty
are intentionally produced in the United States, how Congress chooses to implement the
treaty's provisions for regulating other POPs is a test of U.S. leadership.
Representatives Solis and Gillmor have each introduced bills that would amend
TSCA for the purpose of allowing the United States to implement the Stockholm
Convention. Both bills protect U.S. sovereignty by ensuring that the United States can
make its own, independent decisions whether to be bound by future international
decisions to regulate additional POPs. But the two bills have widely divergent visions of
how Americans should be protected from these dangerous substances. The Solis bill
(H.R. 4800) seeks to implement the letter and spirit of the POPs Convention by giving
EPA clear authority to regulate and by living up to the expectations of the American
people that protecting human health should be a primary objective of U.S. environment
and health law. The Gillmor bill (H.R. 4591) would abandon the Convention's
fundamental health protection goal, introduce a standard that will weaken U.S.
environmental and health safeguards, and create regulatory hurdles that would make it
practically impossible for EPA to ever protect Americans from some of the world's most
dangerous chemicals.
On behalf of all Americans who will benefit from U.S. ratification of the POPs
Convention, we urge you to support implementing legislation that will enable the United
States to reassert leadership in protecting its citizens from persistent organic pollutants.
The Solis bill does this in a pragmatic and effective manner by requiring timely U.S.
action, by implementing the Convention's health-based standard, and by honoring the
right of state, local and tribal authorities to protect their citizens from the dangers of
POPs. The Solis bill reflects the high standard for implementing legislation that our
organizations have insisted upon since the Convention was signed.

Ensure Timely U.S. Action
Once the United States commits to regulating additional POPs chemicals added to
the Stockholm Convention, EPA must have the authority to respond quickly and
Gillmor bill does not require the United States to take any action after an
international decision to add a new POP to the Convention, even when the United
States supports the decision. Moreover, the Gillmor bill politicizes science,
mandating that EPA apply potentially onerous requirements that invite litigation
while doing nothing to improve the scientific quality of regulatory decisions.
  The Solis bill embodies a better approach, directing EPA to take prompt regulatory
action when a new POP chemical is added to the Convention. Such action can
include a decision not to regulate if EPA concludes that there will be no adverse
effect on human health. The bill sensibly instructs EPA to take into account the
findings of the international scientific review process, in which the United States
would be a full participant, as the logical starting point for its evaluation, thereby
avoiding costly, time-consuming, and redundant analysis.

Adopt the Treaty's Health Standard
A health-based decision-making standard is at the heart of the Stockholm
Convention. As a treaty that will become part of "the law of the land," the Convention
text should be the source of the standard for implementing amendments in the United
  The Gillmor bill jettisons the Convention's health standard and directs EPA to find a
"reasonable balance" between the costs to chemical companies and the benefits of
protecting children and other vulnerable Americans from some of the world's most
dangerous chemicals. Such cost-benefit standards have been shown time and again to
overestimate the cost of regulation and dramatically undervalue the benefits of
protecting public health. Moreover, because the Gillmor bill would allow costs to
trump health, it would all but ensure that the United States could never join the rest of
the world in accepting amendments that add dangerous POPs chemicals to the treaty.
  The Solis bill adopts the Stockholm Convention's health-based standard for
regulating POPs. The bill directs EPA to implement the control measures specified in
the Convention in a manner that protects against "significant adverse human health
and environmental effects."

Respect State Measures to Protect Health
Many states are already taking action to regulate POPs, including California,
Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, and
  The Gillmor bill would not only make it difficult for EPA to regulate a newly listed
POP chemical, but would also preempt all state and local POPs regulations and
prohibit states from taking regulatory action in the future. This sweeping preemption
language could void state and local measures to control POPs even when the EPA
ultimately fails to regulate the chemical.
  The Solis bill respects state and local efforts to protect public health from POPs by
specifically allowing stricter state standards.
Our organizations support strong, vibrant U.S. participation in the Stockholm
Convention. We ask you to join us in realizing that vision by supporting implementing
legislation that is true to the letter and the spirit of the POPs agreement, as represented by
the Solis bill. At the same time, we reaffirm our commitment to ensure that the flawed
approach of the Gillmor bill, an approach that will undermine health and environmental
protections, is not enacted into U.S. law.