Senator Secures Provision to Address Asbestos as Bill Clears Key Panel
(Washington, D.C.) - Montana's senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus secured key provisions for Montana as the "Safe Chemicals Act" cleared a major hurdle in the Senate. Specifically, he worked to speed up the EPA's response to asbestos contamination while also encouraging innovation in developing new, more environmentally friendly chemicals. The Safe Chemicals Act co-sponsored by Baucus passed in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee by a vote of 10 to 8 and will now head to the full Senate for a vote. Senator Jon Tester also co-sponsored the bill.
"It's important to me that Montana families and communities around the country do not have to live through the environmental injustice that Libby experienced. This is a common sense bill that modernizes chemical regulations while making sure innovative companies have the tools they need to develop more environmentally friendly products," said Baucus, who was given the Tribute of Hope Award, The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization's top distinction.
Baucus, a senior member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, fought for provisions in the bill that will require asbestos, including the type of asbestos mined in Libby, to enter into immediate risk management rather than undergoing further study.
Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) applauds Senator Baucus for supporting the Safer Chemicals Act of 2012 and empowering the EPA's work to strengthen regulatory and enforcement efforts to protect Americans for deadly, but preventable asbestos-caused diseases such as Mesothelioma, Asbestosis and Lung Cancer," said Linda Reinstein, co-founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.
Baucus also secured a provision to encourage innovation in the green chemical technology sector and support new jobs in the emerging field.
"We thank Senator Baucus for his sponsorship and support of the Safe Chemicals Act which aligns with our goal of increasing the safety of consumer products and protecting our natural environment through chemicals made from renewable sources," said Jason Kiely, Vice President of Marketing at Missoula-based Rivertop Renewables. "Consumers are increasingly demanding that the products that touch our families, children and the world around us become safer and more sustainable. This Act will compel transparency of the safety and health impacts of all chemicals, balancing fair regulation with the public's call for protection."
Rivertop Renewables is at the cutting edge of a new category of science - Progressive Chemistry. Merging proven science with renewable resources, Rivertop Renewables is creating an abundant and economical supply of sustainable, biodegradable and non-toxic chemicals and bioproducts derived from renewable plant sugars.
Whitefish nurse, Kelli Barber, RN,MN co-chairs the Nurses Work Group for Health Care Without Harm and is a member of the Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments. Barber hails today's news as important step toward protecting patients while lowering health care costs.
"I'm proud to see Senator Baucus championing a bill that would protect us from exposures to chemicals which are proven to not only cause cancer but a host of other