The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Opinion The EPA needs resources — and guidelines

The Environmental Protection Agency. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)
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Regarding the June 1 news article “Shrinking budget, growing workload build an EPA crisis”:

The American Chemistry Council agrees that the Environmental Protection Agency Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention needs more money and more staff to implement the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) effectively and efficiently according to congressional intent.

We support the EPA having the resources it needs to help achieve the goals set out in the bipartisan 2016 amendments to the TSCA. However, our support for additional funding for the TSCA program comes with the expectation that the EPA will meet its statutory requirements, which it is currently failing to do in multiple areas. The EPA must be transparent about how resources are being spent today, and how future resources will be allocated within the agency to achieve statutory requirements. This includes improving the throughput and timelines in the new chemicals program, using real-world data and current industrial practices when assessing workplace risk, and demonstrating that the agency is consistently applying the scientific standards embedded in the statute when making safety determinations.

Chris Jahn, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the American Chemistry Council.

Industries don’t usually endorse bigger budgets for their federal regulators. But the industry I represent, which makes cleaners, disinfectants and pesticides, is fighting to increase funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, and for good reason.

The June 1 article “Shrinking budget, growing workload build an EPA crisis” documented well the many problems the agency faces because of financial shortfalls. But it missed one: The EPA has an astounding backlog of 11,000 pesticide-related regulatory decisions because of staffing shortages.

The resulting delays in approval of pesticide advancements hurt both the businesses that make the products and the consumers who benefit from them. Companies need certainty to get their products to market. Congress should approve the larger EPA budget that President Biden has requested so it can again become the preeminent environmental regulator it is supposed to be.

Steve Caldeira, Washington

The writer is president and chief executive of the Household & Commercial Products Association.

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