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Chemical Industry Council of California

Senate Committee Gives Nod to AB 1879

CICC Testifies in Support of “Green Chemistry” Bill - Posted 08/22/08




Sacramento - Thursday afternoon, CICC appeared before the Senate Environment Committee in support of the AB 1879, a bill granting authority to the Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) to develop a regulatory framework enabling state scientists, rather than legislators, to make objective decisions regarding identification, prioritization and regulation of chemicals and chemical uses.  Appearing alongside the author, Assemblyman Mike Feuer (D, LA) were Maureen Gorsen, Director of DTSC; Bill MaGavern, Political Director, Sierra Club; and John Ulrich, CICC's Executive Director.


Ulrich testified that CICC has been involved in discussions regarding Green Chemistry since the issue first came to public attention.  Green Chemistry in the context of Sustainable development is not inconsistent with the goals of the chemical industry.  Ulrich said CICC strongly opposed AB 1879 as originally introduced, because it contained a legislatively mandated list of chemicals and compounds.  CICC saw this as a mechanism whereby the legislature in future sessions would continue to impose chemical de jure mandates on the regulatory agencies.  As amended, AB-1879 will allow for the development of a regulatory framework, in accordance with the due process protections of the Administrative Procedures Act, which will set in motion for the first time in California a mechanism to allow scientists to make scientific decisions ranging from "no action" up to and including the prohibition of certain chemical uses, and in the worst case scenario - prohibition of the chemical itself.


Joining CICC in support of the bill was Tom Jacob, DuPont.  Numerous other industry trade associations came forward to announce that they were removing their opposition to the bill.  The American Electronics Associations (AEA) and elements of automobile industry spoke in opposition to the bill, each requesting an exemption from its provisions.  Also opposing were the Environmental Justice Advocates who indicated the bill did not go far enough.


The bill also directs the establishment of a process to evaluate chemical alternatives, in order to avoid the unintended consequences of inappropriate substitutions.  A Green Ribbon Advisory Panel is established to provide continuing advice and counsel to the DTSC, and the entire process will be subject to multimedia review and lifecycle assessment conducted by the Environmental Policy Council, which is comprised of the Secretary of Cal/EPA and the heads of the principle Boards, Offices, and Departments within the agency.


Earlier this week (as reported in successive stories in CICC News, 8/15/ thru 8/21), Administration officials brokered a two bill, AB-1879 (Feuer) and SB 509 (Simitian), package which led to yesterday's developments.  The bills, as amended will address the same section of law and are therefore "double joined," so neither of the amended bills will override the provisions of the other bill.  Both bills must pass and be signed in order for either to become operable.


While we have reviewed and accepted the amendments Senator Simitian intends for SB 509, bill is not yet officially in print.  Senator Simitian is removing the earlier ingredient disclosure language entirely, but not the definition of 'consumer products' which has troubled some in the business community.  Instead of an ingredient disclosure bill, SB 509 becomes a bill to authorize OEHHA and DTSC to establish a Clearinghouse for chemical hazard traits.  The Clearinghouse, as proposed by the Administration, was originally intended as part of Mr. Feuer's yet to be amended version of AB 1879.  In addition to the Clearinghouse, SB 509 contains technical and "cleanup" provisions affecting AB 1879.


CICC is and has been supportive of a process for regulating chemicals based on sound science.  We believe the compromise between the authors of the legislation, and the Administration is sound and workable.  SB 509 will provide valuable input to the scientific identification and prioritization process authorized in AB 1879.  CICC views the two bills integral parts of a developing regulatory framework for science based decisions regarding chemicals.  CICC position on both AB 1879 and SB 509 is one of Support.


Please continue to monitor CICC's website www.cicc.org for most recent developments or contact the CICC office at 916-989-9692.



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