The Lautenberg-Vitter bill would strengthen the EPA’s authority to regulate chemicals – but co-author David Vitter (R-LA) insisted the bill also prohibit states from adding their own regulations.
California attorney general Kamala Harris said the language threatens Prop. 65, the regulation that compels companies to disclose the presence of a number of listed chemicals, and described the Senate measure as “a no-win that puts Californians at risk from toxic chemicals and inhibits the development of safer, cleaner products.” The California Environmental Protection Agency, meanwhile, said dozens of California laws and regulations may be threatened, including the state’s abilities to meet its greenhouse gas targets under AB 32, the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006.
If federal law does succeed in rolling back state environmental regulations, it would be a huge shift in recent trends. California has on several occasions introduced environmental standards tougher than the federal norm – in many cases setting a path that the feds later followed. And Republicans on Capitol Hill have for some time shown a tendency to shift environmental regulations from Washington to the states – a proclivity not in evidence here.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.