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 UdallOvernight Defense: Milley reportedly warned Trump against Iran strikes | Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer killed in Afghanistan | 70 percent of active-duty military at least partially vaccinated Biden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Senate Democrats befuddled by Joe Manchin MORE (D-N.M.) and David VitterDavid Bruce VitterBiden inaugural committee to refund former senator's donation due to foreign agent status Bottom line Lysol, Charmin keep new consumer brand group lobbyist busy during pandemic 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 InhofeTop Republican: General told senators he opposed Afghanistan withdrawal Austin, Milley to testify on Afghanistan withdrawal The Pentagon budget is already out of control: Some in Congress want to make it worse 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 MarkeyOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by Climate Power — Senate Democrats ding Biden energy proposal Six Democrats blast Energy Department's uranium reserve pitch Facebook draws lawmaker scrutiny over Instagram's impact on teens MORE (D-Mass.), who introduced competing chemical reform legislation with Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerFormer California senator prods Feinstein to consider retirement Trump decries 'defund the police' after Boxer attacked Former Sen. Barbara Boxer attacked in California 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.