Chemical Bill Moves to the House - 2/5/08
The newly amended chemical bill has a new number S.2481 "An Act Providing for Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals." The bill currently sits in the House Committee on Ways & Means chaired by Representative Robert DeLeo of Winthrop. There is currently no scheduled vote on the bill at this time.
We are pleased to let our members know that due to their response, there were a few major improvements to the bill when the Senate took it up last week. Many of our members have asked what happened to the Tarr amendment that would have exempted lead ammunition from the bill entirely. When GOAL filed our exemption amendment and word got out to other industries, there was such a flood of other groups looking for amendments that the Senate leadership basically closed the door on any exemption amendments. While I realize that our members are disappointed that our amendment was withdrawn on the Senate floor, it was their overwhelming response to the call for action that led to the bill's improvements.
The improvements to the latest draft include:
Limiting the authority of the Toxic Use Reduction Institute to act without oversight in implementing "Chemical Action Plans" that would have forced industry to comply with their recommendations.
Placing greater responsibility in the hands of the Administrative Council made up of government agency heads rather than an outside entity.
Removing language that would allow:
Any group of ten residents of the Commonwealth may petition the Administrative Council to add new substances to the Second List for the Safer Alternatives Program.
Provide for a public comment period prior to any "Chemical Action Plans" moving forward.
Removing the list of chemicals the appeared in prior bills which lead was listed as number one.
While these are good improvements to the bill, there is still room for further improvements. GOAL, working closely with the NRA and the NSSF, is developing an amendment for the House that would provide even further oversight. Because of what took place in the Senate and the fact that so many industries are looking for specific exemptions, it is not likely that re-filing our ammunition exemption would meet with success.
The specific language of the amendment has not been finalized, but what we are asking for is that prior to any "Chemical Action Plan" being implemented by the Administrative Council, each individual plan must be filed as legislation and be brought through the legislative process. This would provide some time for proper hearings and debate on a plan that could affect our abilities to purchase lawful products or could certainly affect industry in this state. At the very least, our legislative elected body should have to give their approval on any action that could drastically affect the Commonwealth. It would also remove a dangerous prospect that an agency could act on such important matters without legislative oversight.
We will continue to work on this further amendment and will alert our members on the final decision and when it is time to act. Your voices made a big difference in the Senate and I have all the faith that they will again in the House.
Senate Votes on Chemical Bill
The Massachusetts Senate took up S.2406 “An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals” today. The bill was replaced with a new version S.2481. It will take some time to go through the new language and report to our members where we stand. We can tell you that from an initial reading, the list of elements including lead was removed and it appears that the original authority granted to TURI has been greatly diminished.
Our members can very proud of the impact they have had on this process. While GOAL's amendment did not make it into the next draft, our members had an enormous impact on the Senate debates.
Toxic Chemical Bill Update
On Tuesday, January 29, 2008 the Massachusetts Senate is scheduled to take up the Toxic Use Reduction bill. Senator Bruce Tarr is filing an amendment on behalf of GOAL that will exempt lead ammunition from the bill. GOAL is urging our members to contact their local Senator prior to 1:00 PM on Tuesday and ask them to support the Tarr amendment.
GOAL Files Request for Amendment to Toxic Chemical Bill
January 16, 2008
We are writing to express our concerns with S.2406 “An Act for a Healthy Massachusetts Safer Alternatives to Toxic Chemicals,” which will shortly come before you for action.
S.2406 authorizes the establishment of an advisory committee that would work with the Toxics Use Reduction Institute at the University of Massachusetts Lowell to establish a list of toxic substances in Massachusetts. The Institute is to develop a priority list of toxics, and come up with safer alternatives whose use would be mandated in the Commonwealth.
As the representative of the gun owners of the Commonwealth, GOAL is concerned that misplaced zeal combined with a lack of historical knowledge concerning the decade of work to create best management practices could easily lead to an unwarranted prohibition of lead ammunition in the Commonwealth. We have grave concerns about all of the power being placed into the hands of this one group.
Our concerns over the power of TURI were only magnified with the published work on the use of lead at shooting ranges from the Institute in 2007. In the creation of this report TURI failed to professionally carry out its charge, claiming a lack of funding and time, resulting in a less than accurate report. Failings in the 2007 “study” include:
· Claims that frangible ammunition is a viable alternative, without examining the commercial availability of this ammunition, which is limited;
· Claims that frangible ammunition is less of a health risk, despite recent evidence that tungsten, a major component, is also a carcinogen;
· Claims that copper and copper products are viable substitutes when copper toxicity has not been adequately studied;
· No examination of the economic impact on Massachusetts hunters and competitive shooters. A 2007 study of manufacturer’s price lists showed the non-lead ammunition is an average of 209% to 219% greater in cost.
When questioned as to the validity of their conclusions, the Institute’s excuse was that they ran out of money and time and needed to publish something to comply with the mandate. Based on this experience, Gun Owners' Action League believes that the Institute has demonstrated a lack of professional knowledge, credibility and thus the ability to evaluate anything regarding lead in ammunition.
As further proof, this report from TURI also did not include anything regarding the fact that Gun Owners’ Action League has been pro-actively involved with protecting the environment and managing lead at shooting ranges. Working with the state’s Department of Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Agency, we established the Lead Shot Initiative approximately ten years ago. GOAL has worked very hard over the last ten years to assist Massachusetts clubs to operate under a Best Management Practices plan, ensuring the protection of our natural resources. These non-profit clubs across the state have spent thousands of dollars working on these management practices and have received no recognition for their efforts and now may be forced to change everything they do again based on a less than credible source.
With these facts in place Gun Owners’ Action League requests the following amendments to S.2406:
· To insert after the word “include” on line 259:- lead as used in ammunition; and will not include
· To strike the words “sale: or” occurring in line 275, and replace with the following:- (9) present in crude or fuel oils used in combustion to produce electricity, steam or heat except when production of electricity, steam or heat is the primary business of a facility; or (10) present in ammunition or components of ammunition subject to but not limited to lead projectiles and expended lead projectiles including expended lead when discharged from ammunition.
The past history of TURI dictates that we seek these amendments to S.2406. The sponsors of this bill have stated publicly that their intent is not to ban lead ammunition. Because of that acknowledgement, and the TURI record, we would assume that the sponsors of this bill would have no objection to these proposed amendments. I thank you in advance for accepting these amendments and thus ensuring our shooting sports heritage may be passed on to the next generation.
James L. Wallace
*This page is made possible by the membership of GOAL and their generous donations. If you found this page helpful please Join - Support - Donate to GOAL.
|GOAL Special Reports|
GOAL is the Official State Association of the National Rifle Association