March 6, 2015

Udall’s ties to chemical industry profiled by NYT


The New York Times looked at the newly-close ties between U.S. Senator Tom Udall and the chemical industry.

Udall is the Democratic point man in discussions over an overhaul of safety regulations in relation to chemicals, the New York Times reports, taking over for the late U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey.

In 2013, Udall’s office promoted his work on the agreement.

“We urgently need to improve the law so that it can effectively do what Congress intended – protect Americans from dangerous chemicals. Enacting major environmental laws is a very tall order,” Udall said at a hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in 2013. “Despite near universal agreement that TSCA is broken we have struggled to find a bipartisan path forward. We now have a rare commodity – a bipartisan agreement on a bill that will make a real difference for American families. Let’s seize this moment and do the right thing.”

The story outlines the opposition of some of Udall’s colleagues and environmental groups that have largely been allies of Udall. One such critic of the deal that Udall is hoping to craft is Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

“I’ve been around the Senate for a long time, but I have never before seen so much heavy­handed, big­spending lobbying on any issue, and what is so worrisome is that the very health and life of our children are at stake,” Ms. Boxer said. “To me it looks like the chemical industry itself is writing this bill.”

Mr. Udall emphatically rejects the notion that he is industry’s emissary. “I am fighting for our children and trying to make sure they are not being pumped full of chemicals in the next generation,” he said. “We can’t do something that is pie in the sky; we have to deal with the reality.”

Udall has largely received support form environmental groups; the Udall name is in many ways synonymous with environmentalism. Udall’s father, Stewart Udall, was the Secretary of the Interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson.

The newfound support from the chemistry industry comes in the form of campaign donations as well as independent expenditures in favor of Udall’s successful reelection in 2014.

The ad below came from the American Chemistry Council, supporting Udall’s reelection.