Letter to the Los Angeles Times Editor: Balanced regulations and green chemistry

by Jack M. Stewart
Feb. 7, 2012
Dear editor,

Governor Brown's Feb. 2 letter to the Los Angeles Times reiterated his dedication to government regulations that are sensible and balanced. We couldn't agree more.

In fact, we'd ask that Gov. Brown look at a process underway right now in Sacramento that, left unchecked, has the potential to become precisely the kind of burdensome obstacle to growth the governor addresses in his letter. State regulators are drafting regulations that will determine whether California's Green Chemistry Initiative will be the bold, innovative step described in the groundbreaking 2008 legislation that created it, or a backward step for consumers, manufacturing and our state's economy.

When the Department of Toxic Substances Control issued an informal draft regulation in October, it was met with a deluge of warnings from experts and scientists, including an official of the European Union, where chemicals policy is notoriously strict. As written, the regulations grant DTSC the power to reach into every corner of the marketplace and regulate virtually every product made, imported or sold in California. Because they lack any objective process for how the DTSC will choose which chemicals and products it regulates, the rules seem far more likely to stifle innovation and investment than to achieve their desired goals of safeguarding consumers.

The regulations also seem destined to add enormous costs to companies that do business in California -- costs that large companies will have to pass on to consumers and that small companies may very well find ruinous.

Our state's manufacturers and consumers are carrying a great enough burden as it is. We applaud the governor's commitment to balanced regulations and hope he will take steps to ensure these regulations meet this standard.

Jack M. Stewart
Sacramento, CA
President -- California Manufacturers & Technology Assn.

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