Greens sue EPA over toxic chemical rules

Greens sue EPA over toxic chemical rules
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Several environmental groups are challenging new chemical safety regulations issued by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The groups sued the EPA on Monday over rules, published in July, that determine which uses of chemicals the agency will assess before allowing the chemicals to be sold on the open market.

A chemical safety law passed last year requires the EPA to update several internal procedures related to the risk evaluation process for toxic chemicals.

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But in their lawsuit Monday, the groups said the agency watered down the rules and weakened the chemical review process compared to the proposed regulations issued by the Obama administration.

“After Congress took bipartisan action to make desperately needed updates to our chemical safety laws, the Trump administration has turned back the clock, leaving families and workers at risk,” said Eve Gartner, an attorney at Earthjustice, which filed the lawsuit in federal court on Monday.

Gartner said the rules “will leave children, communities and workers vulnerable to dangerous chemicals. This lawsuit is about one thing: holding the Trump EPA to the letter of the law and ensuring it fulfills its mandate to protect the public.”

One of the rules in question sets criteria to determine the highest-priority chemicals for the EPA to evaluate. The other establishes which uses of a chemical regulators will consider for health and safety risks during the review process.

The groups argue the new rules provide “loopholes” for chemical manufacturers.

But the EPA said in June the rules “clearly [define] important scientific terms to ensure transparency and confidence in the risk evaluation process,” and ensure “that the agency’s resources are focused on those uses that may pose the greatest risk.”