Bush Administration Pressures EU On Chemical Rules

It used to be that the U.S. chemical industry lobbied lawmakers in Washington. Now the White House is aggressively lobbying on the industry's behalf in Brussels, opposing new European Union regulations on chemicals. The EU's proposed Registration, Evaluation, and Authorization of Chemicals or REACH would require chemical makers to publicly report the potential harmfulness of their products - both for new chemicals being introduced and those already available. "The Bush administration, which has consistently favored policies beneficial to the U.S. chemical industry, has teamed up with American chemical companies to lobby against REACH and has already succeeded in weakening some of the proposed rules. Earlier this year, U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell himself stepped up pressure on the EU when he cabled U.S. diplomats with a list of talking points, urging them to voice these objections to European officials," BushGreenWatch reports. The latest U.S. ploy is to threaten that REACH violates WTO agreements, parroting chemical industry statements that the new rules would be too "burdensome" and "costly" for U.S. chemical makers who export to Europe. "Once again, we have the U.S. position equals the chemical industry position," said Joe DiGangi, a scientist with the Environmental Health Fund.