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Senators Inquire about U.S. Attack on Reach

by Cheryl Hogue
June 28, 2004 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 82, Issue 26

Two senators are asking the Bush Administration to explain its assaults on the proposed European Union law for regulating chemicals.

In a June 22 letter, Sens. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-N.J.) and James M. Jeffords (I-Vt.) asked U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick how the Administration arrived at its stance criticizing the EU's plan for registration, evaluation, and authorization of chemicals (REACH).

Comments submitted by the Bush Administration to a World Trade Organization committee on June 21 reiterated arguments that closely track American Chemistry Council views (C&EN, April 12, page 7). The comments say REACH is unworkable and would disrupt global trade, hurt innovation, and be too costly.

Lautenberg and Jeffords said they are concerned that this stand reflects only chemical industry views "without consideration of the broader ramifications for the U.S. economy, national interest, public health, and the environment." They asked Zoellick to describe any analysis conducted on the trade impacts of REACH and to reveal whom the Administration conferred with to develop its position. They also inquired whether the Administration consulted Congress.

In addition, the senators asked Zoellick to describe in detail which provisions of REACH the Administration believes may conflict with international trade rules (see page 31).

Meanwhile, consumer groups from the U.S. and EU last week called on the Bush Administration to halt its attacks on REACH.


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