Green Chemistry at Risk in Connecticut

April 15, 2011

An opportunity to advance green manufacturing and green chemistry in Connecticut is in jeopardy if a bill under consideration by the State Senate (SB 210) passes in its current form.

Last year, the legislature created the Chemical Innovations Institute as a vehicle for advancing research and education in the area of green chemistry.

Its goal is to offer education, training, and research assistance to Connecticut businesses on the availability and use of safe and effective alternatives to traditional chemicals that are highly regulated and/or understood to have health risks.

Clear intent

There was a clear intent at the time of its formation that the Institute should avoid public policy advocacy and instead serve as a resource to businesses and others interested in developments related to green chemistry.

Unfortunately, Section 2 of SB 210 is an attempt to push the Institute away from its scientific and educational mission in a manner that will allow advocacy groups narrowly focused on banning chemicals to use it as a basis for advancing their agenda at the Capitol.

The section specifically requires the Institute to annually submit a list of “chemicals of high toxic concern” to the Environment Committee.

Advocates and some legislators have expressed a desire to break with the committee’s current trend of voting to ban one chemical per year. Instead, they want to legislatively ban or regulate greater numbers of chemicals in Connecticut, beyond what is already required under state and federal laws.

Political hijack

The business community, whose support was critical in passage of the bill creating the Institute, is firmly opposed to Section 2 of SB 210 because it attempts to hijack the Institute for political purposes.

If this provision passes, it will compromise the critical trust and collaboration between the Institute and the regulated community.

The Institute is a promising, collaborative and market-driven approach that CBIA believes will foster the advancement of green chemistry research, education and utilization in Connecticut.

The legislature should not pass a bill that suffocates that promise. CBIA strongly urges the legislature to reject Section 2 of SB 210.

For more information, contact Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.