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Chemistry in a Time of Transition and COVID

The COVID-19 pandemic and recent election have strained our society and economy in ways not previously seen, so it is important for us to recognize positive stories and people who are doing their part to help our country and the world become safer, cleaner and healthier.

In that spirit, our industry would like to thank Administrator Andrew Wheeler and the dedicated staff at EPA—both political staff and civil servants—for all they have accomplished in order to help the agency achieve its mission of protecting human health and the environment, including through the implementation of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). We also look forward to working with the Biden Administration and nominee Michael S. Regan if he is confirmed by the Senate.

The continued implementation of the 2016 amendments to TSCA, in a way that provides the regulated community and the public with certainty and confidence, is critical to our industry’s ability to produce countless products essential to our daily lives, including the safe storage and delivery of the vaccines necessary to overcome COVID-19. Many of those products have also been critical during the pandemic. Those include personal protective gear for front line workers; chemical biocides and disinfectants that eliminate bacteria and viruses; and plastic packaging materials that help prevent the contamination of food and other consumer products. Countless other chemical innovations will be essential to emissions reductions and renewable energy solutions needed to meet climate goals and thousands of other technologies that will enable a more sustainable future.

The TSCA amendments were the result of years of negotiations between lawmakers of both parties and stakeholders from industry, environment, public health, animal rights and labor organizations. The legislation, passed by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both Houses of Congress and signed into law by President Obama, directs EPA to review the safety of all chemicals in commerce. It was a watershed moment during a time of political gridlock, and the updated law continues to play a role in helping our industry protect the most vulnerable people and places in America.

As EPA Assistant Administrator for Chemical Safety Alexandra Dunn recently commented, the agency’s efforts have ensured greater awareness of the chemicals being used in our communities, more extensive safeguards for health and the environment and a significant reduction in toxic pollution.

Not everyone has agreed with EPA’s approach, some have even challenged the framework rules in court. Those regulations largely held up under judicial scrutiny, which is validation that the agency has adhered to the letter and spirit of the law. We appreciate Administrator Wheeler’s commitment to adherence to the law, transparent implementation and steady progress, as well as the countless hours that EPA staff have put in since 2016 to achieve important milestones.

We look forward to working with Mr. Regan, if he is confirmed by the Senate. The need for communication between regulators and industry has never been greater.

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About the author

As President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council (ACC) Chris is responsible for driving a pro-growth, science-based public policy agenda that fosters the development of groundbreaking products to improve lives; creates jobs and economic expansion; and enhances public and environmental health and safety.

Chris joined ACC in 2019 after serving six years as President and CEO of The Fertilizer Institute (TFI), where he advocated for policies and regulations focused on enhancing security, free trade, environmental protection, worker health and safety, and farm bill and conservation programs to promote the use of fertilizer.

Prior to joining TFI in 2013, Chris served as president of the National Association of Chemical Distributors for seven years. Earlier in his career he was president of the Contract Services Association. Chris began his career on Capitol Hill, including time as chief of staff to U.S. Senator Craig Thomas (R-WY).

Chris earned an MBA from the University of Maryland and holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in New York.

A native of Wyoming, Chris and his family live in Fairfax Station, Virginia.

American Chemistry Council

The American Chemistry Council (ACC) represents the leading companies engaged in the business of chemistry. ACC members apply the science of chemistry to make innovative products and services that make people's lives better, healthier and safer. ACC is committed to improved environmental, health and safety performance through Responsible Care®; common sense advocacy designed to address major public policy issues; and health and environmental research and product testing. The business of chemistry is a $486 billion enterprise and a key element of the nation's economy. It is among the largest exporters in the nation, accounting for ten percent of all U.S. goods exports. Chemistry companies are among the largest investors in research and development. Safety and security have always been primary concerns of ACC members, and they have intensified their efforts, working closely with government agencies to improve security and to defend against any threat to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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