California Governor Vetoes Holding-Tank Bill

California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has vetoed a controversial
bill that would have prohibited the sale and use of a number of holding
tank chemicals containing six specific chemicals employed in holding
tank deodorants utilized in waste facilities and toilets on boats and
RVs, states a release generated on behalf of one of the bill’s key
opponents, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thetford Corp.

“The decision was reached after considerable input from those
who would have been most impacted throughout the industry,” the release
states.

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) had joined
Thetford in opposing the bill, which would have banned formulas
containing bronopol, dowicil, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde,
paraformaldehyde and paradichlorobenzene. And RV and marine supplier
Dometic Corp., Elkhart, Ind., a key competitor of Thetford’s, had also
taken exception to the bill and had sought to have it amended to
eliminate one chemical – bronopol.

Opponents felt that the State of California needed better
science — more proof — that these chemicals are fouling up septic
systems in the state. Thetford contended that use patterns — the fact
that many people often dump holding tanks in a short period of time — is
a more serious root cause of septic system problems.

The bill, backed by the California Association of RV Parks and
Campgrounds (CalARVC), was vetoed despite a relatively strong reception
from the state’s law makers.

The governor’s office issued the following statement after the veto:

This bill prohibits the sale and use of a specified list of
chemicals in chemical toilets and waste facilities of recreational
vehicles.

Current law already gives the Department of Toxic Substances
Control (DTSC) the ability to address the issue of chemical toilet
products in recreational vehicles. Additionally, DTSC has the ability to
address this issue through the Green Chemistry process.

This bill presents a scenario that is ripe for a Green
Chemistry approach: competing science on each side of the issue; concern
about the effectiveness of alternative products for the consumer’s
intended use; consumer reaction in the wake of an ineffective
alternative; and questions as to whether banning particular chemicals
will actually address the underlying problem.

Neither I, nor members of the legislature, are best equipped to
answer these questions. We need science and scientists to undertake
this challenge and develop a solution that addresses the chemical
problem and provides the consumer with a product that is both economical
and effective for its intended purpose.

Under the leadership of my Secretary for Environmental
Protection, the Green Chemistry process is well underway at DTSC. We
will have regulations adopted by Jan. 1, 2011, and DTSC should address
the issue raised in this bill either under that process or under their
existing authority.

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