Today we were joined by two dozen of our coalition partners in sending a letter to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt about one of his new hires—a chemical industry advocate who got one of the top spots in the EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention.
Nancy Beck comes to EPA from the American Chemistry Council, a trade group that lobbies for the interests of companies like Dow, Monsanto and ExxonMobil. Just last month Dr. Beck was testifying before Congress on behalf of the chemical industry. This month, she’s a key decision maker on how to regulate chemicals.
The EPA Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention’s mission is to protect you, your family, and the environment from potential risks from pesticides and toxic chemicals.
One of the top responsibilities of the office is to implement a new chemical safety law—the Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act (LCSA). Congress passed the new law last year to strengthen the Toxic Substances Control Act—a 40-year-old law that was so ineffective that EPA couldn’t even ban asbestos. The new law gives EPA new power to test chemicals, evaluate risk and restrict the use of chemicals to protect our health.
As EPA has begun to implement the new law, Dr. Beck has pushed the chemical industry’s agenda. For instance, she signed detailed comments to EPA on its rules for how to prioritize and choose which chemicals to evaluate, and how to evaluate those chemicals. These rules have to be finalized this summer. Dr. Beck will have a direct role in that process.
How can we expect a chemical industry advocate to make decisions that put public health protections ahead of the chemical industry? We called on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt to complete a thorough ethics review and, if she is to remain in her position, inform the public of the recusals and other precautions that will be put in place to prevent conflicts of interest.