I recently wrote about the efforts in two states, Maine and Oregon, to pass legislation banning the use of the synthetic estrogen bisphenol A (BPA) in baby bottles, sippy cups, and reusable water bottles. The legislation is strongly supported by Oregon’s Governor, John Kitzhaber, and just as strongly opposed by Maine’s Governor Paul Le Page (although Maine state officials testified that they had “no position” on the bill at a recent committee hearing – and the committee then voted the bill out of committee unanimously -- the Governor made clear that he still personally strongly opposed it). Here is the latest on the status of the bills in both states.
Maine: law ratifying BPA phase-out goes to the Governor’s desk for his signature
The full Maine legislature acted quickly. Last week, the House passed the legislation (which actually is ratification of a rule already adopted by Board of Environmental Protection) by a vote of 145 to 3. Today, Maine’s Senate passed the ratification legislation 35-0. So, Maine’s legislature has endorsed a phase out of BPA by an overwhelming veto-proof margin. That may not matter much to Governor LePage who is already building a record as a wild card (although consistently acting in the interest of his chemical industry supporters isn’t actually all that wild).
The Governor may be itching to veto the bill and stand up to the legislature, (and all those parents who don’t want their children exposed to BPA), despite the inevitable override. Or, he may go ahead and sign the bill, with the hope that he will be successful in his larger quest to gut Maine’s Kid-Safe Products law – which itself was enacted by the state legislature with overwhelming support only three years ago. It is the Kid-Safe Products Act that led to the rule banning BPA, and the legislation to gut the bill would, in part, allow Governor LePage to unilaterally revoke the BPA ban. In short, Governor LePage has several strategic options to consider. Let me suggest one more. Governor LePage should separate himself from the chemical industry, side with the children of Maine (and their parents), and drop his attacks on the Kid-Safe Products Act. Now that would be wild.
Oregon: Senate passes BPA legislation, House action next
In Oregon, the Portland Oregonian weighed-in recently with an editorial supporting the legislation, and last week the state Senate voted 20 to 9 in support of the BPA ban bill. The next steps will take place in the House, perhaps as soon as next week. Passage in the House is not guaranteed, and I strongly recommend that Oregonians check-in with Oregon Environmental Council and BPA-Free Oregon to find out the status and learn how they can help educate members of Oregon’s House about the issue.