Committee hears chemical facility safety testimony
It isn’t clear whether the agricultural side of regulatory change can be separated from the non-ag chemical side of changes in regulatory oversight. The chemical spill seems to have complicated all the issues.
Not clear to those outside the regulatory circle in Washington, D.C., is a reference to the use of the “general duty clause” being advocated by Boxer. In simple terms, engaging the general duty clause seems logical until the details are pulled to light because many describe the general duty clause as simply requiring chemical facilities to “take steps to prevent a catastrophic release.” The ag industry has indicated it doesn’t want EPA to engage this clause because it is much more complicated than being suggested, and the EPA has not embraced proceeding down that road.
Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D.-W.Va.) and Boxer after the January spill introduced a bill that would increase safety regulations and inspection requirements for above-ground chemical storage tanks.
A senator who spoke with a voice of reason at the hearing was Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) who suggested that enforcing laws already on the books would seem more important than writing a bunch of new regulations.
Greenwire quoted him as saying, “If we make a mistake and over-regulate a needed chemical without the facts … the result is lost jobs for already struggling communities.”