Enviro groups cite ‘egregious’ delays in chemical safety regs

The Environmental Defense Fund, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Earthjustice and the League of Conservation Voters sent a letter Tuesday to Sens. Richard BlumenthalRichard BlumenthalLast chance to improve Afghanistan’s fledgling Air Force? Poll: Senate should confirm Gorsuch A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (D-Conn.) and Orrin HatchOrrin HatchHow to marry housing policy and tax reform for millions of Americans Though flawed, complex Medicaid block grants have fighting chance A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Utah), requesting a hearing.

Blumenthal and Hatch serve, respectively, as the chairman and ranking member of the new Senate Subcommittee on Oversight, Federal Rights, and Agency Action, which has jurisdiction over the regulatory process.

Last month, the panel held a hearing to address concerns about proposed worker and public safety rules that were delayed at the White House’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

A host of chemical safety regulations proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are prime examples “of the many egregious examples of chronic delays in OIRA reviews of rulemakings,” the groups wrote.

“These proposed rules would help to ensure that businesses and consumers have access to better information concerning the potential risks posed by commercial and industrial chemicals and can make more informed market decisions,” the letter contends. “Yet, again and again, these rules have been held in regulatory limbo…”

Of particular concern, the groups contend, is last week’s withdrawal of a pair of regulations designed to expand oversight of dangerous chemicals.

In defense of the decision, the EPA has said it was the goals of the regulations were being pursued through other avenues.