Originally published on EnviroBlog by Thomas Cluderay, general counsel, and Melanie Benesh, legislative attorney, for the Environmental Working Group.
You might think you can’t put a price on protecting public health and the environment. But you’d be wrong – especially if we’re talking about the nation's broken and outdated chemicals law, the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act, or TSCA.
We’ve written a lot about how the House and Senate are working to amend this defective law (here, here and here) through negotiations to reconcile language in their respective TSCA reform bills.
A critically important issue still under discussion is to what extent the Environmental Protection Agency must consider economic costs as part of its decisions on regulating chemicals. In practice the requirement that EPA balance costs and benefits translates into serious delays – if action at all – when it comes to protecting people and the environment from toxic chemicals. This onerous requirement most notoriously blocked the EPA's efforts to ban asbestos, even in the face of abundant evidence that it is a deadly carcinogen.
Although both the House and Senate bills attempt to minimize considerations of regulatory costs, those efforts could be undermined by the 2015 Supreme Court …