Sanders pans chemical safety reform deal

Sanders pans chemical safety reform deal
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Presidential candidate Bernie SandersBernie SandersSenate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Top adviser on Sanders: 'He's always been underestimated' 'The Simpsons' pokes fun at Trump's feud with 'the squad' MORE slammed the compromise chemical safety bill unveiled Friday, saying it does too much to prevent states from regulating dangerous substances.

The Vermont senator's position stands in contrast to a wide range of his colleagues in the upper chamber, even some of the most liberal, who supported the bill to reform the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act.

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Sanders, who is behind Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Polls flash warning signs for Trump Polls suggest Sanders may be underestimated 10 declassified Russia collusion revelations that could rock Washington this fall MORE in the race to be Democratic Party’s nominee, said he agrees with his colleagues that the TSCA is ineffective and needs updating.

“While this legislation allows Vermont to continue enforcing existing state regulations to keep adults and children safe from toxic chemicals such as [perfluorooctanoic acid], it makes it more difficult for states to set new, stricter standards. That makes no sense,” he said in a statement shortly after the compromise legislation was unveiled.

“Federal chemical regulations should be a floor, not a ceiling,” Sanders said. “States should not be stopped from going above and beyond minimum federal safety standards.”

The bill, which still must go through the House and Senate and get President Obama’s signature, gives the Environmental Protection Agency new authority to review and regulate thousands of chemicals, but it also greatly limits states’ ability to put in place their own chemical rules.

The preemption of state authority was a key sticking point for Democrats in negotiating toward the legislation. The Democrats successfully changed the bill enough so that Sens. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerOnly four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates Hispanic civil rights icon endorses Harris for president California AG Becerra included in Bloomberg 50 list MORE (D-Calif.), Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility Senate Dem seeks answers from DHS on reports of pregnant asylum seekers sent back to Mexico Schumer backs Pelosi as impeachment roils caucus MORE (D-Ore.) and other liberals joined in to support it.

Sanders’s opinion aligns with that of the top environmental regulator in Vermont and in five other states, who pushed lawmakers Thursday night to give states more authority.

Sanders sits on the Senate’s Environment and Public Works Committee, and joined four of his colleagues last April in voted against a previous version of the chemical bill.