China’s viral enviro health documentary and US TSCA reform malaise

china under the domeLast month, this Chinese documentary about the country’s legendary air pollution problems went viral. Now available with English subtitles, Under the Dome has the look and feel of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, from TED style narration and eye-grabbing background slides to shots of rapt audience members and a closing call for action.  This grass roots effort bodes well not only for improved domestic air pollution regulation, but also for increased support for China’s announced climate change mitigation goals.

At around the same time in the United States, the persistent call for TSCA reform was sounded again.  This NYT article chronicles recent Senate debates about the current bill in Congress, which I’ve analyzed in past blog posts and in my article in the Vermont Journal of Environmental Law. The Times article focuses more on politics, specifically on Senator Tom Udall’s filling of Senator Frank Lautenberg’s TSCA reformer role. The bill that was co-sponsored by Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Senator David Vitter (R-LA) continues to be debated in committee well after the NJ Senator’s death.  According to Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who opposes the proposed bill’s state preemption provisions, things aren’t going well.  “I’ve been around the Senate for a long time, but I have never before seen so much heavy-handed, big-spending lobbying on any issue,” Ms. Boxer said. “To me it looks like the chemical industry itself is writing this bill.”  New drafts are being circulated, according to the article, but nothing has yet made it out of committee.

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