Safer chemicals policy watch


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Under the Trump Administration, EPA is making rapid and far-reaching changes to environmental regulations from rolling back mercury and air toxic standards for power plants to undermining the new law meant to review chemicals for safety before products hit the shelves.

Our policy watch will help keep you current. This month in policy:

  • Trump erodes water protections: 6 things to know - Politico offers a quick but comprehensive primer on the new regulation, known as the Navigable Waters Protection Rule. Takeaways include: “It goes beyond overturning Obama to erase protections that have been in place for decades” and “half the country's wetlands could lose protection.”
  • EPA’s scientific advisers warn its regulatory rollbacks clash with established science - EPA is pushing ahead with sweeping changes to roll back environmental regulations despite sharp criticism from a panel of scientific advisers, most of whom were appointed by President Trump. The changes would weaken standards that govern waterways and wetlands across the country, as well as those that dictate gas mileage for U.S. automobiles. Another change would restrict the kinds of scientific studies that can be used when writing new environmental regulations, while a fourth would change how the EPA calculates the benefits of limiting air pollutants from coal-fired power plants. Three of the four draft reports suggest that the administration’s proposals conflict with established science. They were prepared by members of the EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board, a panel of experts created by Congress in 1978 to review the agency’s scientific methods.
  • 10 state attorneys general call TSCA solvent risk evaluations 'unlawful' - Attorneys general from ten U.S. states have called the EPA’s approach under TSCA to evaluating the risk posed by two solvents "unlawful and irrational," in a comment letter that may portend future legal challenges for the agency. The concerns in the comment center largely around EPA’s failure to consider all of the exposure pathways and hazards posed by the substance and the replacement solvent N-methylpyrrolidone, both of which are among the first ten substances subject to risk evaluation under the reformed law.