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 UdallTom UdallDem 2020 hopefuls lead pack in opposing Trump Cabinet picks A guide to the committees: Senate Senate Dems ask DHS inspector general for probe of Trump’s business arrangement MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid VitterMercury brings on former Sen. Vitter, two others Lobbying World Bottom Line 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 InhofeA guide to the committees: Senate GOP considers ways to ‘modernize’ endangered species law GOP bill would eliminate Consumer Financial Protection Bureau 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 MarkeyEd MarkeyDems rip Trump administration for revoking Obama's transgender directive A guide to the committees: Senate GOP sets sights on internet privacy rules MORE (D-Mass.), who introduced competing chemical reform legislation with Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerCarly Fiorina 'certainly looking at' Virginia Senate run Top Obama adviser signs with Hollywood talent agency: report 
Democrats vie for chance to take on Trump as California governor 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.