Washington (April 28, 2015) – Senator Edward J. Markey, top Democrat on the Superfund, Waste Management and Oversight Regulations subcommittee, released the following statement on chemical safety legislation that was voted on today at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.
“I recognize and commend the tremendous progress that has been made on this bill since it was first introduced two years ago. Hard work and compromise has occurred on the part of many members on both sides of the aisle.
“Some of the important changes to the legislation, particularly those that are important to the residents of Massachusetts, have been worked out over the past few weeks. States can now co-enforce federal chemical safety laws, and do not have to fear that their clean air and water laws will be preempted. Citizens can now challenge the validity of the science behind EPA decisions to call a chemical safe. Specific provisions I pushed for to better enable states to continue to lead the way on chemical safety regulation and remove some of the legal arguments used by industry to overturn EPA’s asbestos ban have been included in this package as well.
“Despite the significant progress that has been made, I cannot yet support the underlying bill. The bill does not yet have the right balance between the federal regulatory program’s strength and the states’ role. The pace and funding contained in this bill are too limited for the Environmental Protection Agency to assess in under a century the safety of even the most dangerous 1,000 chemicals. There are no provisions to more quickly regulate known dangers like asbestos. And the bill does not have a deadline for industry to implement any federal chemical safety regulation. At the same time, the states are provided with less than their traditional role in protecting public health and the environment for their residents.
“I hope to continue to work with my colleagues to further improve the bill as we move towards full Senate consideration.”