Almost since the start of President Trump’s time in office, lawsuits have been filed against the policies he is implementing, seeking to cancel or delay Trump’s efforts. In the environmental regulations realm, environmentalists have filed lawsuits that challenge the changes to the recently revised Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA).
When pressure from industry groups led EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to delay the effective date of the final TSCA rule until February 2019, eleven state attorneys general threatened to file suit to block the delay.
Now that TSCA is back on track, environmental groups are addressing aspects of TSCA implementation, specifically how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will evaluate chemicals. TSCA requires chemicals to be categorized according to their risk factors before new products can be introduced into the market.
Led by Earthjustice, several environmental groups have filed lawsuits addressing: (1) the methodology EPA will use to set the ground rules for how it will prioritize chemicals for safety review, and (2) exactly how it will evaluate those chemicals.
According to EarthJustice, “After Congress took bipartisan action to make desperately needed updates to our chemical safety laws, the Trump Administration has turned back the clock, leaving families and workers at risk,” said Eve Gartner, an attorney at EarthJustice. “The EPA’s newly adopted rules—overseen by a former high-level chemical industry official with head-spinning conflicts of interest—will leave children, communities and workers vulnerable to dangerous chemicals. This lawsuit is about one thing: holding the Trump EPA to the letter of the law and ensuring it fulfills its mandate to protect the public.”
In a release discussing their position, EarthJustice provides comments from numerous other environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, Environmental Working Group, Environmental Health Strategy Center, and others.
In 2016, Congress amended the chemical law, TSCA, for the first time in 40 years. It now requires EPA to conduct comprehensive risk evaluations of chemicals without regard to cost. But Earthjustice said that the Trump administration has “dramatically weakened” the rules and continues to lead efforts to ensure that the rule is not further diluted.