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Preemption of State Authority in TSCA Reform


January 27, 2015


Washington, DC (and via teleconference/webinar)

An ELI Membership Seminar

The American Bar Association (ABA), Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER), Committee on Pesticides, Chemical Regulation and Right to Know, Special Committee on Congressional Relations, and the Environmental Law Institute (ELI) were pleased to co-sponsor this roundtable discussion.

Amending the governing statute of a major regulatory program is fraught with political challenges, and reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act may be the biggest environmental undertaking of the 114th Congress. Preemption of state law already looms as one of the most contentious issues in the path of modernizing the act. Over the years, perceived deficiencies of TSCA have prompted state and local governments to adopt a plethora of statutes and regulations regarding chemical safety. Stakeholders of all types are eager to see how any amendments will deal with state authority.

Federal agencies, industry, and environmental advocates agree TSCA reform is necessary, but what will happen in states that have developed their own regulatory regime for chemical safety? Will Congress attempt to “occupy the field” and take complete control of chemical regulation, create a “dual sovereign” system where local laws are only trumped when they are in direct conflict with the new federal standards, or will they aim for something in between?

Participants learned about a major challenge Congress will face while trying to revamp the nation’s cornerstone chemical regulation statute. Perspectives of federal and state administrators, industry representatives and environmental advocates were heard in order to help understand the concerns and goals of various stakeholders regarding preemption in TSCA reform.

Martha E. Marrapese, Partner, Keller & Heckman, LLP (moderator)
David Goldston, Director, Government Affairs Program, Natural Resources Defense Council
Keith Matthews, Counsel, Sidley Austin, LLP
Claudia Polsky, Deputy Attorney General, California  Attorney General’s Office
Judah Prero, Assistant General Counsel, American Chemistry Council

If you are an ELI member and are logged onto the Members site, you will see links below to available materials/recordings from the session. If you are not an ELI member but would like to have access to archived sessions like these, please go HERE for more information on benefits and how to join.