Administration has no position on Udall-Vitter bill, EPA says

While the Environmental Protection Agency said it does not have a position on the bill Sens. Tom UdallThomas (Tom) Stewart UdallDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Dem senators unveil expanded public option for health insurance Overnight Energy: Watchdogs unveil findings on EPA, Interior controversies | GAO says EPA violated law with soundproof booth | IG says Zinke could have avoided charter flight | GOP chair probes Pruitt's four email addresses MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterPlanned Parenthood targets judicial nominee over abortion comments Trump nominates wife of ex-Louisiana senator to be federal judge Where is due process in all the sexual harassment allegations? MORE (R-La.) introduced to reform the nation’s chemical laws, an agency official told lawmakers at a hearing Wednesday that the bill is consistent with the six principals the Obama administration set in 2009 to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.

Those principals include reviewing chemicals against a safety standard that’s based on sound science; forcing manufacturers to provide the EPA with the necessary information to determine if a new chemical is safe; taking into account sensitive subpopulations such as children, pregnant women and the elderly; assessing priority chemicals in a timely manner; assuring transparency; and giving EPA a sustained source of funding.

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Senate Environment and Public Works Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeDems give muted praise to Pompeo-Kim meeting Overnight Energy: Former Pruitt aide alleges more wasteful spending, retaliation | Senate confirms EPA No. 2 | Zinke backs off big park fee increases Senate approves Trump’s pick for No. 2 at EPA MORE (R-Okla.) asked EPA Assistant Administrator James Jones how many chemicals the agency has regulated under the TSCA in the current administration.

“Zero,” he said.

“How many chemicals has EPA regulated since 1990?” Inhofe asked.

“Zero,” Jones said again.

During the hearing, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) said he’s concerned that the Udall-Vitter bill takes away states’ rights to enact their own chemical laws and wants to see language added to the bill that minimizes the use of animals to test chemicals.

Jones said the EPA is invested in pursuing alternatives to animals testing and will look at how the preemption of states weighs into the overall bill.

But during questioning from Sen. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyDem senators demand Trump explain ties to Koch brothers Overnight Cybersecurity: Senators want info on 'stingray' surveillance in DC | Bills to secure energy infrastructure advance | GOP lawmaker offers cyber deterrence bill Overnight Tech: Alleged robocall kingpin testifies before Congress | What lawmakers learned | Push for new robocall rules | Facebook changes privacy settings ahead of new data law | Time Warner CEO defends AT&T merger at trial MORE (D-Mass.), who introduced competing chemical reform legislation with Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerThe ‘bang for the buck’ theory fueling Trump’s infrastructure plan Kamala Harris endorses Gavin Newsom for California governor Dems face hard choice for State of the Union response MORE (D-Calif.), Jones agreed that under the Udall-Vitter bill it could take the EPA more than 100 years to finish regulating thousands of chemicals in commerce if the agency stuck to the minimum pace requirements.

He also said Markey was correct when he said the Udall-Vitter bill would require the EPA to do separate analyses when there are multiple products that contain the same chemical.