Sen. Boxer Shuffles Environment Committee; Ambitious New Agenda

Date: February 13, 2009

Source: News Room and Senator Frank R. Lautenberg

Lautenberg To Chair Key Environmental Subcommittee, USA

Today, Senator Frank R. Lautenberg (D - NJ) announced that he will chair the Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) subcommittee that will oversee the nation's Superfund program, the regulation of chemicals in consumer products we use every day and hazardous waste.

"We need to leave our children with a cleaner, safer environment," Sen. Lautenberg said. "New Jersey has more Superfund sites that any state in the nation and - like many environmental programs - Superfund was neglected and underfunded for the last eight years. Our subcommittee will get these programs back on track and better protect our environment. I also intend to reform how we regulate chemicals in everyday household products so they are safe before winding up in the hands of consumers."

Specifically, Lautenberg's Superfund, Toxics and Environmental Health Subcommittee, will oversee:

  • Superfund and Brownfields;

  • Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), including recycling, federal facilities and interstate waste;

  • Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA);

  • Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act (EPCRA);

  • Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs);

  • Environmental Justice; and

  • Risk Assessment.

As chairman, Lautenberg plans to reintroduce the Kids Safe Chemicals Act, major legislation to protect Americans, especially children, from toxic chemicals in everyday consumer products. The bill would ensure for the first time that all the chemicals used in baby bottles, children's toys and other products are proven to be safe before they are put on the market. The Senator also plans introduce legislation to ensure that polluters pay for Superfund cleanups, and to increase the pace of those cleanups. During the 1990s, the EPA averaged more than 80 Superfund site cleanups per year. But in 2008, only 30 sites were cleaned up.

Lautenberg will continue to serve on the Senate Appropriations and Commerce committees and continue to chair the Commerce subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security.

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