States do a better job regulating chemicals than feds

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The Environmental Health News is reporting that a recent article in Chemical and Engineering News finds that, "When it comes to regulating chemicals, states increasingly are leaving the federal government behind and tackling this issue themselves. In recent years, California, Maine, Minnesota, and Washington have enacted laws establishing comprehensive regulatory programs to control substances in products. Now more states are considering this kind of legislation."

Some states, but not North Carolina. No, in our state the General Assembly is actually working to strip the power behind regulatory measures that could stand between our and the environment's health and corporate profits.

There is a move in the Republican-controlled legislature to downsize and make more business-friendly the state's leading environmental agency, a move that has set off alarms among environmentalists.

A measure moving through the Senate would strip the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) of several of its functions. And Senate budget writers are considering further downsizing measures.

Lawmakers have also begun holding hearings across the state to review the state's rules and regulations, with environmental regulations a particular area of interest.

"I'd like to see DENR downsized," said Sen. Don East, a Republican from Pilot Mountain and co-chairman of the budget committee that controls DENR's purse strings. "I'd like to see them be a kinder, gentler agency. I'd like to see DENR be a help, not a hindrance to business and industry."

Read the rest of this News & Observer article, by Rob Christensen, here.

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