Last week saw many months of effort by NEMA staff and member company reps rewarded by introduction in the US House of Representatives of HR 2420, The Environmental Design for Electrical Equipment Act ("EDEE Act"). This proposed legislation would codify into US law Phase I of the NEMA Call to Action, the industry's voluntary commitment to conform to substance thresholds set in the European RoHS Directive wherever NEMA products in the scope of that directive are sold. The bill was introduced by Rep. Michael Burgess (R, TX), a physician who serves on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which has oversight on environmental and energy matters. Like the RoHS Directive, it establishes thresholds on the use of lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, and two flame retardants in certain electroindustry products. The bill contains exemptions for certain applications when necessary to ensure continued compliance with industry's rigid safety and performance standards. It also would set a level-playing field for domestically made and imported products, and discourages the proliferation of a patchwork of inconsistent state laws and regulations that are not a workable solution in interstate and global commerce.
NEMA believes that if enacted, this legislation will prove to be a win for industry, a win for the public, and a win for the environment. We've received uniformly positive feedback in our informational briefings on Capitol Hill and expect to have additional sponsors soon. More information can be obtained by visiting: NEMA's Environmental Call-to-Action Initiative.