U.S. Rep. John Shimkus has a bill, the “Chemical in Commerce Act,” that if passed would give virtual immunity to the chemical industry. When you consider this is an industry that currently is already poorly regulated, the last thing we need to do is to give chemical manufacturers immunity. The following statement on this bill by Burton LeBlac, President of the American Association for Justice (AAJ), explains why the legislation should not become law.
Far too often the lives of American families are dangerously impacted by chemicals in our drinking water, children’s toys and consumer products. The Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) must be reformed to effectively protect the public, but Rep. Shimkus’ draft bill doesn’t come close as it eviscerates public health safeguards, preempts state law and grants immunity to the chemical industry.
The draft bill completely disregards known concerns of advocates for public health, the environment, consumers and states’ rights. Instead, Rep. Shimkus’ bill allows the chemical industry to control the science the EPA uses to regulate chemicals, preempts states from taking action on dangerous toxins, and all the while ensures that chemical manufacturers cannot be held accountable in the civil justice system.
The end result is that Rep. Shimkus’ draft bill only benefits corporations responsible for poisoning and killing Americans and places the health and safety of American families at risk. Congress must prioritize the health and safety of Americans by passing meaningful and effective TSCA reform, not granting a handout to the chemical industry.
Rep. Shimkus’ bill, without a doubt, would give immunity to the Chemical Industry. If enacted, his bill would:
The judicial system has a definite role to play in the regulation of the chemical industry. That role becomes much more important when governmental regulations fail to do their job. The civil justice system – both federal and state – must be kept viable. Giving immunity to any industry is simply wrong and affects the public welfare. Trial lawyers around the country work hard to make the system work.
As the world’s largest trial bar, the American Association for Justice (formerly known as the Association of Trial Lawyers of America) works very hard to make sure individuals and businesses in this country have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the wrongdoing or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporate wrongdoers. In fact, it’s because of the power and political influence of huge corporations that the American court system must be free of undue influence, be independent and able to dispense real justice.
Source: Burton LeBlac, President AAJ
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