Florio's Commendable Record

Posted: January 30, 1987

Long before many in Congress recognized the threat of hazardous wastes and toxic chemicals, U.S. Rep. James J. Florio (D., N.J.) was urging tighter controls on what he perceived to be one of the most serious environmental threats facing many U.S. citizens.

Assigned a seat on the Commerce and Health Committee in 1975, Mr. Florio nudged - some might say badgered - Congress to tackle the problem. He got results. In 1980, Congress created the Superfund to clean up abandoned hazardous wastes.

In a fractious battle in the last session of Congress, Mr. Florio, chairman of the commerce, transportation and tourism subcommittee, worked to broaden the Superfund law and boost its budget. That, unfortunately, often put him at odds with the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee chairman, Rep. John Dingell (D., Mich.). The committee was reorganized this year, and the duties of Mr. Florio's subcommittee curtailed. As a result, Mr. Florio opted to become chairman of a new subcommittee on commerce, consumer protection and competitiveness - all fertile areas for oversight.

His direct involvement in hazardous waste issues will be missed, but the good news is that he has promised to retain his interest in them.

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