Listen to the lawyers: Attorneys General defend states’ role in toxics law

February 01, 2016

It’s the duty of a state Attorney General to counsel government on how the law works best for the nation. So when twelve of them are telling Congress what states need in order to protect people from toxic chemicals, it’s worth a listen. 

Check out the January 19 letter to Congress that twelve Attorneys General sent to Congress about reform of the Toxic Substances Control Act. They say:

 Yes, we must fix the long-broken federal system for managing toxic chemicals. Yes, times twelve. 

 But when it comes to states that have stepped up as real champions, innovators and defenders of public health: Don’t fix what isn’t broken. 

  • States that have working toxics laws—some in place for a quarter century—should be able to keep them working. 
  • States with ideas that are more effective and efficient than federal law should have a chance to argue for putting those ideas to work. 
  • And states that are great partners—taking swift action to protect people as the federal system slowly grinds into gear, or taking on-the-ground action to enforce federal laws—should continue to be partners. 

Though it may seem quiet in the mainstream news, there are critical discussions underway right now towards reform of the 1976 Toxics Substances Control Act. Getting it right is essential to our health and well-being long into the future. And getting it right means ensuring that we’re not slamming the door on all that states do well when it comes to protecting people from toxic chemical hazards.

Yes, we must fix the long-broken federal system for managing toxic chemicals. Yes, times twelve.  But when it comes to states that have stepped up as real champions, innovators and defenders of public health: Don’t fix what isn’t broken. 

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