It has been speculated that a major focus of the next Congress will be addressing environmental issues such as: climate change, chemical plant security and a pollution tax on chemical producers. Commentators agree that the passage of a global warming cap-and-trade bill will be an early emphasis of the next Congress because of its bipartisan support and because of President-elect Barack Obama’s election promises on this issue. This bill is likely to seek the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases to 80 percent of the 1990 levels by the year 2050. Other pieces of environmental legislation likely to be addressed early on are antiterrorism technology requirements for the chemical industry. The current antiterrorism chemical plant security law will expire at the end of 2009 and environmental groups are asking Congress to require chemical plants deemed to be a high risk for terrorist attack to use inherently safer technology (IST). There is also speculation that Congress may revisit the thirty-year-old Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to implement a precautionary principle approach more akin to the European Union program in lieu of the current risk-based approach.

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