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SOCMA Announces 2010 Legislative Priorities

The Society of Chemical Manufacturers and Affiliates (SOCMA) has announced its legislative priorities for the second session of the 111th Congress, outlining plans for its national grassroots program, SOCMA CONNECT, and efforts to launch a voter registration drive ahead of the November midterm elections.

“Our priorities this year are similar to those in 2009, but our message will more forcefully communicate how overreaching legislation will negatively impact specialty chemical manufacturers, particularly small and mid-sized producers,” said Bill Allmond, SOCMA’s vice president of government relations and ChemStewards. “With unemployment still at 10 percent, Congress should be doing all it can to take concerns about new regulatory burdens more seriously.”

SOCMA’s key legislative priorities include:

* Chemical Site Security – SOCMA will continue to support permanent risk-based regulations that comprehensively address security at chemical facilities without mandating inherently safer technology (IST) implementation under the guise of security. Despite strong industry protests, the House of Representatives in November passed overreaching standards that include product substitution requirements. “SOCMA members sent over 200 letters to Members of Congress last year, voicing their opposition to mandating IST in this bill,” said Allmond. “Our grassroots efforts are now focused on the Senate, which is expected to give greater consideration to the harmful effects IST implementation would have on batch chemical manufacturers.” For more information on SOCMA’s position on chemical security, visit www.socma.com/ist.

* TSCA Reform – SOCMA remains active in the chemicals management policy debate and testified twice on this issue before Congress last year. SOCMA recognizes the need to update the decades-olds statute, and supports carefully tailored approaches and fuller implementation of existing programs. “Any reform of TSCA should leverage regulatory efforts that have demonstrated success, while maintaining a fundamentally risk-based framework that prioritize chemicals for further review,” said Allmond.

* Climate Change – SOCMA will continue monitoring climate legislation and regulatory activity, including S. 1733, the “Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act” as it awaits action by the Senate. While it remains unlikely that a cap and trade bill will pass the Senate this election year, a major climate change/clean energy bill will remain a top Democratic congressional priority over the next two years.

* Food and Drug Safety – SOCMA will continue to address the risks associated with importation of active pharmaceutical ingredients from emerging markets and overall food and drug safety. SOCMA will monitor the “Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009” (HR 2749) that passed the House and was referred to the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee for consideration.

* Research & Development Tax Credit – SOCMA is renewing its call to permanently extend the research and development tax credits. “Our industry does its part by spending large amounts each year to design new products that support our economy and daily living,” said Allmond. “Government incentives, such as the R&D tax credit, go a long way toward spurring innovation of these products and protecting and growing jobs.”

* Trade – SOCMA supports the pending free trade agreements (FTAs) with South Korea, Panama, and Columbia and would welcome the passage of a US-Korea FTA in 2010. SOCMA plans to closely follow the Administration’s efforts to move forward with a Trans-Pacific Partnership. “This Administration has emphasized that boosting exports is a part of its economic agenda, and we will be supporting efforts in Congress to ensure that export-oriented growth that benefits our membership is a priority,” Allmond said.

Building off last year’s grassroots successes, SOCMA CONNECT is launching new services to better assist members in their congressional advocacy efforts. Using web-based tools, SOCMA members will be able to research election dates, races and important issue information. SOCMA CONNECT will also spearhead voter registration drives and provide email updates on races and candidates that will inform and engage members as election day approaches.

SOCMA is the leading trade association, serving the batch, custom, and specialty chemical industry since 1921. SOCMA’s nearly 300 members employ more than 100,000 workers across the country and produce 50,000 products valued at $60 billion annually. For more information, visit www.socma.com.

ChemStewards is SOCMA’s flagship environmental, health, safety and security (EHS&S) continuous performance improvement program. ChemStewards was created from industry’s commitment to reducing the environmental footprint left by member’s facilities. Industry created ChemStewards to meet the unique needs of the batch, custom, and specialty chemical industry. As a mandatory requirement for SOCMA members engaged in the manufacturing or handling of chemicals, ChemStewards is helping participants reach for superior EHS&S performance. To learn more, visit www.chemstewards.com.

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