Did Dow and DuPont weigh in and engage in backdoor deals to influence new environmental legislation? That’s the question being asked by environmentalists and critics suspicious of the chemical industries influence on a new bill, reported the The Huffington Post.
Critics say that such a move would seem to come straight from the “strategic playbook” written by Big Tobacco and updated by climate-denying researchers.
Sens. Tom Udall (D-NM) and David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act. It’s a bipartisan bill proposed to update the Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976.
What makes the Udall-Vitter bill so dangerous is that it would weaken the states’ abilities to enact their own environmental restrictions that would supplement federal laws.
“Under the bill, for a chemical that everyone agrees is unsafe, states can’t act, even when the EPA is not acting,” said Mike Belliveau of the Environmental Health Strategies Center. “It’s the best of both worlds for the toxic chemical industry — the bill blocks state action, while slow-walking [the] EPA through endless delay tactics.”
“The chemical industry has hijacked the narrative around protecting the environment and public health,” said Ansje Miller of the Center for Environmental Health (CEH). “They have come in with an entirely different bill that is more about creating a system that gives a false sense of security.”
Miller indicated that the Safe Chemicals Act of 2013, drafted by the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NY), had lots of support from the environmental health community, support that the Udall-Vitter bill doesn’t have.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) reported that the chemical industry has spent $190 million on lobbying Congress in the last three years. The chemical industry has also provided large contributions to Sen. Udall. EWG president Ken Cook believes this cozy relationship between Udall and the chemical industry will impact the bill’s effectiveness.
“It is possible the first environmental law that will emerge from Congress in almost a generation is one that has originated in the chemical industry — the very industry this legislation purports to regulate,” said Cook.
Industry has infected nearly every facet of our political system. Corporations are able to purchase the politicians and laws that will protect their profits, and the average American has to deal with the consequences of corporate malfeasance.