Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Dingell/Waxman Battle and Chemical Security

There has been an ongoing political discussion on about the attempt by Congressman Waxman to take over the chairmanship of the House Energy and Commerce Committee from Chairman Dingell. Today, for the first time, I have seen a discussion about how this might affect chemical facility security over on Part of this discussion is driven by the failure of the Energy and Commerce Committee to report HR 5577 (or even HR 5533) to the House floor. Now I have written extensively about this issue (see: “The Continuing Saga of CFATA” for my latest diatribe), but I do not know if this potential change in committee leadership would have any significant effect on chemical facility security legislation in the upcoming session. From the discussion in the article it doesn’t seem as if the chemical industry (or at least it’s representative organizations) knows either. The article quotes a SOCMA representative that that thinks Waxman would support IST provisions while Dingell would continue to ‘listen to industry’. The American Chemistry Council representative, on the other hand, was not so sure. In any case, the change will not take effect until January 6th when the 111th Congress meets for the first time. That means that this move will have no direct affect on HR 5577. I say ‘no direct affect’ for a specific reason. If Waxman is as ‘anti-industry’ as he has been made out to be, the chemical industry might find that the provisions of HR 5577 may not be as obnoxious as they thought. They might make a ‘conciliatory’ move to get HR 5577 to a floor vote to get it on the books and avoid a bill they might like even less in the incoming congress.

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