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E-M:/ Action needed on bad toxics bill! Act today!

Title: Action needed on bad toxics bill! Act today!
If you care about public health and exposure to toxic chemicals,
tell your congressional representative to vote NO on H.R. 4591

The House of Representatives will vote in the next few days on a bill sponsored by Rep. Gillmor, H.R. 4591, that amends the Toxic Substances Control Act so the U.S. can move toward ratification of the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, commonly known as the POPs Treaty.  However, the bill has a number of very problematic provisions and will do little to meet the treaty requirements to "eliminate, or at least severely restrict the release of toxins without delay." This bill is opposed by major nursing, public health, labor, and environmental organizations. 

Take Action!!!  It just takes one minute to send a message!!!
Go to  www.uspopswatch.org to send a message to your legislator to oppose the Gillmor POPs bill. Other groups hosting POPs e-actions include Oceana, Sierra Club, PSR, and NRDC.  And kudos to Congressman Dingell who has been a leader in opposition to this bill (see his statement below).

H.R. 4591 is:
H.R. 4591 disregards the treaty's health-based standard, instead applying a cost-benefit approach advocated by the chemical industry that would not ensure protection of public health and the environment.
H.R. 4591 would preempt states from implementing their own stringent POPs safeguards. As a result it is opposed by a bipartisan group of eleven State Attorneys General, and dozens of state-based groups.
H.R 4591 would not require the Environmental Protection Agency to do anything to eliminate or restrict dangerous chemicals additional added to the POPs Treaty. Consequently, H.R. 4591 is opposed by nurses, doctors, and public health advocates, along with more than 75 Hispanic, Native American, labor, and environmental organizations (see page 2).
Opposition to the Gillmor POPs Bill - H.R. 4591
Anti-Public Health, Anti-States' Rights, Anti-Environment
(September 20, 2006)
American Nurses Association
Breast Cancer Fund
Physicians for Social Responsibility
Institute for Children's Environmental Health
National Hispanic Environmental Council
California Association of Sanitation Agencies
United Steelworkers

State Attorneys General
Mike Hatch (Minnesota)
Zulima Farber (New Jersey)
Eliot Spitzer (New York)
Hardy Myers (Oregon)
Patricia Madrid (New Mexico)
Thomas Reilly (Massachusetts)
Bill Lockyer (California)
Richard Blumenthal (Connecticut)
Carl Danberg (Delaware)
Lisa Madigan (Illinois)
Rob McKenna (Washington)

American Indian and Alaskan Native Tribal Governments
International Indian Treaty Council
Penobscot Nation
Native Village of Nunapitchuk
Native Village of Hydaburg
Traditional Village of Chickaloon
Alaska Inter-Tribal Council
Indigenous Environmental Network
Sunaq's Traditional Council
Native Village of Gambell
Native Village of Noatak
Swinomish Tribal Community
Scammon Bay Traditional Council
White Mountain Tribal Council
Kivalina Traditional IRA
Port Graham Village Council
Maniilaq Association
Ambler Village Council
Savoonga Traditional IRA
Native Village of Kotzebu

Environmental and Health Advocates
Advocates for Environmental Human Rights
Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility
American Rivers
Arizona Toxics Information
Beyond Pesticides
Blue Ridge Environment Defense League
California League for Environmental Enforcement Now
Californians for Alternatives to Toxics
Center for Environmental Health
Center for Health, Environment and Justice
Center for International Environmental Law
Chemical Weapons Working Group
Circumpolar Conservation Union
Citizen's Environmental Coalition
Clean Water Action
Clean Water for North Carolina
Ecology Center
Environment California
Environmental Health Fund
Environmental Health Strategy Center
Environmental Research Foundation
Environmental Working Group
Families Against Cancer and Toxics
Farmworker Safety and Health Institute
Foundation for Advancements in Science and Education
Friends of the Earth
Fund for Reconciliation and Development
Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives
Glynn Environmental Coalition
Green Delaware
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
International POPs Elimination Network
Jennifer Altman Foundation
League of Conservation Voters
National Environmental Trust
National Wildlife Federation
Natural Resource Council of Maine
Natural Resources Defense Council
Neighbors United
Nuclear Information and Resource Service
Oregon Toxics Alliance
Pesticide Action Network North America
San Onofre Citizen's Council
Science and Environmental Health Network
Sierra Club
U.S. Public Interest Research Group
Washington Toxics Coalition
WE ACT for Environmental Justice
World Wildlife Fund

* Even George Bush agrees
"POPs [Persistent Organic Pollutants] . . . PCBs, DDT, and the other toxic chemicals . . . are linked to developmental defects, cancer, and other grave problems in humans and animals. The risks are great, and the need for action is clear. We must work to eliminate, or at least to severely restrict the release of these toxins without delay."

-- President George W. Bush, April 19, 2001


May 18, 2006
Five years ago, the United States signed the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs), subject to ratification. The task before the Congress now is to provide the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) with the rulemaking authority and a regulatory standard that allows it to properly implement the control measures recommended by the Conference of Parties for a new chemical after a science-based international process.
Unfortunately, although the bill, H.R. 4591, purports to implement a treaty, it unnecessarily creates a novel, controversial cost-benefit regulatory standard for the EPA, applies a restrictive State-preemption regime, and uses a "substantial evidence" judicial review standard rather than the normal "arbitrary and capricious" standard that applies to most EPA rulemakings. At best, the bill will create lengthy delays in implementing a listing decision of the Stockholm Convention for Chemical Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) and a likely litigation bonanza for lawyers. It also has a number of other flaws.
States Attorneys General, numerous environmental and health groups, tribal governments, and labor organizations have expressed strong opposition to H.R. 4591. The bill before us is an unbalanced piece of legislation, apparently designed to roll back important environmental law principles.
Perhaps the biggest flaws relate to the rulemaking standard contained in H.R. 4591, a standard which appears nowhere in the POPs Treaty or in existing United States law. Expert testimony informs us that the standard may not properly account for public health benefits and could place costs over protection of human health.
Further, H.R. 4591 creates a dichotomy where States would be free to adopt more stringent State regulations for POPs chemicals that are pesticides, but would have very limited ability to adopt more stringent State regulations for POPs chemicals that are not pesticides. H.R. 4591 is more preemptive of State law than Congressional enactments in the Solid Waste Disposal Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act.

The Democratic alternative to be offered by the Ranking member of the Subcommittee, Representative Solis, provides the EPA with a health-based standard consistent with risk-based decisionmaking under existing U.S. law. Moreover, the Democratic alternative also permits the States to enact more stringent requirements for POPs chemicals to protect the health of their citizens, similar to the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) for POPs chemicals that are pesticides and consistent with the Solid Waste Disposal Act, Clean Water Act, and Safe Drinking Water Act. The Democratic alternative also fully maintains citizens rights and uses the normal Administrative Procedure Act "arbitrary and capricious" standard for judicial review of EPA rulemaking.

The Democratic substitute also fully protects U.S. sovereignty. Under the Democratic substitute the EPA retains full discretion with regard to the regulation of any new POP. The EPA cannot regulate if it decides the chemical substance is not likely to lead to significant human health or environmental effects. In addition, no EPA rule can take effect unless the President of the United States has affirmatively consented to be bound by the listing of a new chemical. Further, the State Department has informed the Subcommittee in writing that it agrees "H.R. 4800, would not require automatic adoption of decisions of the COP" (Conference of the Parties) and it agrees that H.R. 4800 (the Democratic substitute) does not delegate regulatory powers to the United Nations.
Let us keep in mind that the new chemicals recommended for listing under the Convention by consensus of the world community, after a science-based international process, represent the very worst chemicals on the planet - chemicals that are persistent and can be transported long distances. In the words of the chief U.S. negotiator, these POPs "can wreak havoc in human and animal tissue, causing nervous system damage, diseases of the immune system, reproductive and developmental disorders, and cancers." The lead Environmental Protection Agency negotiator for the Treaty testified that "control of POPs therefore is about protecting our food supply, protecting the fetus and protecting the safety of breast milk for infants." A health-based regulatory standard for EPA, therefore, is fundamental to protecting the health of our citizens.
Mr. Chairman, this Committee has a history of approaching successful environmental legislation in a bipartisan fashion. Unfortunately, from the time two years ago when the Democrats were not included in the Majority discussions with Administration officials until today that has not been the case with this legislation. The Subcommittee leadership has clearly rejected the suggestion of the Minority for a consensus-building effort to include stakeholders from industry, the environmental community, States, and tribes with a direct interest in implementing legislation. That is unfortunate.
I urge all Members to support the Solis substitute and oppose H.R. 4591.
Katie Murtha
Office of Representative John D. Dingell