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 UdallFCC chair: Trump hasn't tried to intervene on Time Warner merger Overnight Finance: GOP divided over welfare cuts in budget | Lawmaker loses M on pharma stock he pitched | Yellen says another financial crisis unlikely in our lifetimes Overnight Regulation: EPA moves to repeal Obama water rule | Labor chief to review overtime rule | Record fine for Google MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid VitterOvernight Energy: Trump set to propose sharp cuts to EPA, energy spending Former La. official tapped as lead offshore drilling regulator Former senator who crafted chemicals law to lobby for chemicals industry 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 InhofeMcCain absence adds to GOP agenda’s uncertainty GOP signals infrastructure bill must wait Lobbying World 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 MarkeyOPINION | Shailene Woodley: US should run on renewable energy by 2050 Dems urge 'transparent and inclusive' nuke policy review Senate confirms former Boeing VP as deputy Defense secretary MORE (D-Mass.), who introduced competing chemical reform legislation with Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara BoxerTime is now to address infrastructure needs Tom Steyer testing waters for Calif. gubernatorial bid Another day, another dollar for retirement advice rip-offs 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.